New homes beyond Zone 2: look for value in London's urban villages

Thirty growth areas in south and east London are set to be transformed with new homes, schools and parks.
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Priced out of central London, home buyers are playing the regeneration game, searching for growth areas beyond Zone 1 where they can get more for their money. Many are even leapfrogging Zone 2 and considering districts with a new transport link, a high street makeover, green space or new shops and businesses that are giving location — and investment value — a boost.

Developers are usually ahead of the buyers in these districts, busy “place-making” and boosting the new areas. Leading estate agent, Savills, predicts properties in these “non-prime” areas will see the biggest price gains — as much as 22.7 per cent over four years.

Relatively few buyers can live with the price hikes in central London, and even some wealthy buyers are searching in non-prime spots. “These so-called second-tier areas often have a more varied choice of property and a more village-y feel, which makes them attractive,” says Andrew Palmer, director of property consultant DTZ.

So where are buyers heading? In  general, further south and further east, and this is where most new homes are being built. Parts of north and west London, traditionally the most expensive sides, also have up-and-coming areas where flats are priced from about £280,000 and houses from about £450,000, with plenty of choice below £1 million. Research by property data company Lonres shows average values in east and south London are roughly two thirds of those in north and west London.


Opportunity areas
One way of identifying a district on the up is to study London Mayor Boris Johnson’s “Opportunity Areas”. More than 30 districts are included — among them Cricklewood, Croydon, Catford, Colindale, Lewisham, Lower Lea Valley, Kensal Canalside, Southall, White City and Woolwich. For the full list, visit

Opportunity Areas are the focus of co-ordinated regeneration and investment. By working with local councils and partner agencies on a strategic level, fast-tracking development and infrastructure projects, the Mayor aims to bring about huge change, as at Brent Cross Cricklewood, where he has approved a £4 billion project for 7,500 new homes, three new schools, four parks and a new Thameslink station giving locals a 12-minute commute to central London. You can find out more about these approved plans at public exhibitions being held from Friday until October 18. For venues, visit 

Barnet’s new  town centre
There will be a new town centre for Barnet borough, doubling the size of the existing shopping centre and having a big impact on local neighbourhoods such as Dollis Hill, a solidly suburban enclave plugged into the Jubilee line and now being discovered by smart singles and young couples.

Wykeham Place, close to revamped Gladstone Park, the area’s main green space, is a project funded by the Mayor’s Housing Covenant, a low-cost homes initiative. Prices from £270,000. Call Network Living on 020 3641 5521. Nearby Colindale, close to the M1, is where suburban Metro-Land begins, but it is on the Northern line in Zone 4, about 30 minutes from the West End and City, so it’s accessible for young professionals priced out of inner London.

Zenith House brings some urban glamour, with contemporary-design, energy-efficient flats in a development with gym, underground parking, super-fast fibre-optic broadband and free membership of a car club. Prices start at £265,000. Call Genesis on 0800 954 0196.

Mill Hill old village in Barnet, with its pond and pubs, is close to the area's best addresses. A new neighbourhood, Millbrook Park, is coming

Large tracts of Barnet borough are bounded by green belt yet still on the Tube map. Mill Hill is one such place. The old village, with its pond and pubs, stands quiet and imposing at the top of the hill, part of an ancient route called The Ridgeway, off which are the area’s best addresses.

Millbrook Park is a new neighbourhood being built on the site of a former barracks and includes modern-design apartments and townhouses set within 14 acres of attractive open space. Prices at The Mount start at £470,000. Call Countryside Annington on 020 8371 9269.

From £470,000: modern-design flats and townhouses at The Mount are set within 14 acres of open space. Call 020 8371 9269

Going south: Streatham
Streatham in south-east London has come a long way since 2002 when its high street was voted the worst in Britain. But the verdict was a blessing in disguise for the area. Lambeth council and Transport for London put in place a regeneration masterplan for streetscape improvements and redevelopment of key sites.

A tired Tesco supermarket is making way for Streatham Hub, with 250 homes alongside a new store and bus terminal, upgraded train station and an ice rink. Away from the high street, new homes are springing up in avenues such as Leigham Court Road, where an old dairy is being redeveloped into flats and townhouses. The latter are good-size homes with 1,648sq ft of space and a high-ceiling, attic-style master bedroom. Prices at The Old Dairy start from £749,950. Call Bellway on 0845 548 3004.

Nearby Tooting is also on the rise, with bars, bistros and a fashionable new Soho House, and it is still quite a bit cheaper than Clapham and Balham. The Broadway is a new-build scheme of 83 flats priced from £320,000. Call Crest Nicholson on 020 3375 2241.

Raw but promising
Increasingly, buyers searching for good value in east London are having to take their search beyond the reaches of Zone 2. Canning Town and Royal Docks are raw but promising with vast regeneration projects in the pipeline. 

Later this month, a second phase of homes will be launched at Royal Wharf, formerly a lubricants plant owned by Shell. This new district will eventually have 3,385 homes and though the architecture is modern, the concept is based on old-fashioned design principles. The aim is to create a Fitzrovia-style “village” on the river, according to Royal Wharf architects Glenn Howells, whose design is “inspired by the success of central London’s landed estates, with their uncomplicated pattern of streets and squares”. Royal Wharf will also have a school and its own Docklands Light Railway station. Call 0808 118 1987 for more information.

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