Boomtown Borough: this new homes hotspot is set to boom again

Still trendy and edgy, the Tate/Globe/Shard hinterland is now getting a wave of glamorous new flats, luring Square Mile hotshots and West End fans.
Click to follow
(Left) Borough Market, is renowned for its atisan food stalls and wide choice of cafés and restaurants (Image: Rex); while nearby in Southwark Bridge Road, 41-storey tower Two Fifty One (above right) is Borough's first residential skyscraper

Regeneration begins to make a difference far more quickly in some areas than others, but perhaps nowhere in London has the pace of change been faster than in Borough.

In the blink of an eye it has gone from fringe to fashionable — and not just the atmospheric food market but the wider area, a wedge of the SE1 postcode between the Thames and Elephant and Castle. This is the Tate/Globe/Shard hinterland, a superb central address whether it is the Square Mile or the West End that looms large in your life.

When Borough “arrived” as a property hotspot about a decade ago, new homes were niche, mainly small warehouse and office conversions, snapped up by loft-loving locals who had a long affiliation with the area.

Now Borough is firing up for a second boom as its web widens, ensnaring bigger-budget buyers from posher parts of town, while a second wave of development hits the streets. The latest launches are a step change, reflecting demand for more upscale homes, including glamorous high-rise flats for City slickers.


The wifi generation 
Two Fifty One, in Southwark Bridge Road, is Borough’s first residential skyscraper, though there are more to come. The 41-storey tower has 335 apartments and is trumpeted as an “online development”, with high-speed fibre optics plus a “Get Connected” wifi-enabled business and homeworking lounge, a relaxed refectory-type space at the base of the building alongside a private cinema club, gym and other amenities.

“The building responds to the way the internet is shaping people’s lives,” says Mike Bickerton of selling agent DTZ. “More than a third of Londoners work from home for some time on a weekly basis.”

Residents will arrive at a double-height foyer with concierge desk and use a pre-programmed swipe card that directs the lift to their floor. Views from the upper floors are spectacular and many apartments have glazed winter gardens. Completion is due in 2017. Prices from £390,000. Call 020 3468 9251.

Despite its growing cachet, Borough might still be described as a “discount district”, meaning buyers have not missed the boat. Typically, new homes in the area start at about £400,000 and range between £750 and £1,000 per square foot, lower than most Zone 1 neighbourhoods. Borough has always been slightly outside mainstream London, a bit alternative, and this is what gives it a special quality. Where else can you buy zebra steaks, sip a flat white from one of the world’s best coffee shops and take in a Shakespeare play?

Part of the area’s charm is its urban residential mix: swish riverside flats, pretty Victorian terraces, charitable and church housing, well cared-for council estates, factory and warehouse lofts, and live-work homes for creatives. “We are consultants for no less than 15 development projects in Borough and the inspiring thing is the variety of schemes in the pipeline,” says James Ball of estate agent Daniel Cobb, one of the first to spot the area’s potential by opening a branch in the Nineties.


From £595,000: two-bedroom flats at The Signal - a 22 storey building with stunning views across London 

These projects  include The Signal, in Newington Causeway, where two-bedroom flats are priced from £595,000 and penthouses from £1,295,000, while The Valentine, in Long Lane, has 19 flats with large balconies offering clear views of the Shard. Prices from £680,000. Call 020 7357 0026.

Check out Great Suffolk Street, which runs alongside a railway viaduct all the way to Trinity Church Square, the latter a splendid Georgian conservation area popular with Guy’s Hospital surgeons and barristers. For many years, this patch was deemed the wrong side of the tracks but architects and design companies are moving into refurbished railway arches while small plots are getting redeveloped into flats.

In Glasshill Street, conversion of an old bookbinders’ warehouse has created eight boutique apartments next to historic almshouses. Prices from £850,000. Call 020 7357 0026.

Bear Lane derives its name from the ghastly “sport” of bear baiting, popular in Elizabethan times. Nine flats, including a vast penthouse with roof terrace, have been built on the site of a small Victorian warehouse. From £575,000. Call Cluttons on 020 7407 3669.


From £715,000: 41 new flats at The Music Box in Southwark. Call 020 772 7722

Making sweet music
Big-name volume housebuilders have also descended on Borough. The Music Box, by Taylor Wimpey, is a funky scheme of 41 flats above the new home of the London Centre for Contemporary Music and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Prices from £715,000. Call JLL on 020 772 7722.

Crest Nicholson has three projects on the go, including redevelopment of Brandon House, a prominent corner building opposite Borough Tube station that will bring 100 flats and townhouses. Another scheme on Melior Street, moments from the Shard, has 37 flats. To register, call 020 3640 7555.

Even the historic food market is expanding, with plans for opening up more courtyard space on “hidden” land alongside Vinopolis, the wine museum and eatery, and the splendid listed Hop Exchange, which has restored Victorian office suites, reincarnated for small businesses.

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty, Facebook and Instagram