Zone 2 homes for first-time buyers: new shared-ownership flats in Camberwell

Camberwell’s house prices have shot up 10 per cent in the past 12 months, but a new shared-ownership scheme is finally putting this rapidly improving south London district in the reach of first-time buyers.
Frequent trains, a growing café culture and a nice mix of bars and restaurants mean that Camberwell no longer needs to be in awe of its lively neighbour Brixton.
Camberwell’s house prices have shot up 10 per cent in the past 12 months, to an average of just under £500,000, putting the south London district out of the reach of many first-time buyers. However, a new shared-ownership scheme from Notting Hill Housing ( could be a way into this rapidly improving area.

Camberwell Fields, in Edmund Street, has almost 100 shared-ownership flats for sale during 2015, with prices starting at just shy of £100,000. Wendy Gordon, sales manager at Notting Hill, said the development’s big plus point is its proximity to Burgess Park, one of south London’s best open spaces.
  Camberwell Fields: shared-ownership flats in Edmund Street

Its downside is that to get to a train station means a bus ride or a 20-minute walk. Once you have reached a station, train services to central London are excellent. Oval Tube station is served by the Northern Line in Zone 2.

To save on fares, walk on to Elephant and Castle, a one and half mile trek, in Zone 1. Services from Denmark Hill Overground station take 10 minutes to Victoria and you could be at St Pancras in 20 minutes or London Bridge in 24.

Prices start at £95,625 for a 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat, or £143,000 for a 40 per cent share. The full value of the property is £357,500.
For two-bedroom flats, with a full market value of between £440,000 and £490,000, buyers can choose between a 25 per cent share from £113,750 or a 40 per cent share from £139,500.
There are also some three-bedroom homes, priced at £130,000 for a 25 per cent share of a home worth £520,000.
A total of 64 homes are on offer, with 32 more due later in the year.

Camberwell has plenty to offer. “There are lots of shops, including some mainstream supermarket brands, but the real charm is the individual boutiquey shops and cafés,” says Gordon. “It has got a village feel even though it’s so close to central London.”

East Street market is half a mile away, and while this ancient market (it dates from the 16th century) is probably not the place for designer fashion or chi chi street food, it’s great for basic clothes, household goods, fruit and vegetables. But traders claim that gentrification of the surrounding area is in danger of driving them out.
Other local institutions include the Blue Elephant Theatre, the South London Gallery, and — for those of a musical persuasion — the Camberwell Choir School. Local restaurants run the gamut from familiar Italian, Spanish and Greek to Eritrean, west African and Kyrgyz Kazakh, reflecting the area’s cosmopolitan feel.
In the picture: the South London Gallery has become a crowd-pulling institution. Image: Getty
The jewel is Burgess Park, subject of a recent £8 million facelift. The park was established in the 1940s to bring a little greenery to south London and is a great success with a BMX track, tennis courts and cricket pitches. There are community barbecue areas and a café, too.
An issue with Camberwell is its long-term reputation for crime. According to the Metropolitan Police its annual crime rate stands at 8.65 per 1,000 population, around average for Southwark and just above average for London. It is lower than in other parts of the borough.
While all new housing for young first-time buyers in London is to be welcomed — and these flats will make great starter homes — Camberwell Fields has one notable weak spot, and that is its design.
The homes are laid out in rather stark brick buildings, which show little architectural flair or imagination. Gordon blames this on the local planning authority, Southwark council, and its desire for the development to blend into the surrounding area.
Inside, however, the flats feel modern and spacious enough. “I would agree that it is not our best architecture, but we were a little bit restricted,” she says.
Most buyers will not be able to be too picky about the external architecture — but something about Camberwell Fields feels like a lost opportunity.

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