Head Southside — and meet your revamped Waterloo
The relocation of Eurostar from Waterloo to St Pancras has paved the way for long-overdue improvements to the former rail station and its immediate vicinity, including Lower Marsh, a lively 160-year old street market that has now been given a facelift. Pedestrianisation and spruced-up shop units are attracting more upmarket boutiques and business.
A former warehouse lying back from the street market is being redeveloped into loft-style offices and nine apartments, including a duplex penthouse with three bedrooms and two terraces priced at £1.85 million. Call estate agent Field & Sons on 020 7407 1375.
The triangle formed by Waterloo, Borough and Elephant & Castle is a place to watch. For years this small-scale commercial district was judged the wrong side of the tracks, too close to grubby railway viaducts. Developers are now stalking this cheaper hinterland and it is being discovered by buyers.
Southside, in Union Street, is a scheme of flats priced from £560,000.
New homes beside the city's oldest canal
Limehouse Cut, London's oldest canal, is getting a fresh lease of life with waterfront regeneration bringing new homes, towpath restaurants and other places to chill out.
From The Boatyard, a new scheme of 75 apartments, it is a pleasant 15-minute walk along the canal to Canary Wharf. Prices from £252,500. Call Telford Homes on 01992 809800.
New townhouses in fashionable Highbury Fields, Islington
Designer townhouses with versatile layouts and exciting interiors can set the heart racing. Such homes are the number-one choice of many young couples moving out of flats in search of family space. Growing families are also bypassing gentrified terraces in favour of new-builds that chime with the way they live.
Mulberry Mews, close to fashionable Highbury Fields, Islington, has crisp, clean-line architecture, with white-rendered low-rise apartment blocks and houses set around a gated, tree-lined square.
The houses have five bedrooms and each have two underground parking spaces, plus a large, informal and light-filled ground-floor family space. Prices from £2.3 million. Call 020 3667 5577.
Luxury homes in a natural amphitheatre in Hindhead
The Surrey village of Hindhead used to be a cut-off point for London commuters because of the long traffic jams at the junction of the A3 London-to-Portsmouth road. No longer. A new 1.2-mile tunnel beneath Hindhead has ended the snarl-ups as well as preserving the Devil's Punch Bowl, a dramatic listed natural amphitheatre.
Easier commuting is boosting property prices further south in attractive country areas such as Petersfield, Petworth and Midhurst, and the seaside villages of Bosham and Birdham, according to Hamptons International, while Hindhead itself, now by-passed by the tunnel, is also falling into favour.
The original carriageway through the village centre has been turned into green open space, the starting point for Devil's Punch Bowl ramblers.
Guildford is the region's main commuter hub, with 35-minute trains to Waterloo. Chantry Quarry, built on the site of a former chalk quarry on the fringes of the town, has 15 four-bedroom houses with roof terraces and full-height windows looking on to a splendid natural setting. Prices from £1.25 million. Call Clarke Gammon Wellers on 01483 880900.
New homes in West Malling for London commuters
A former Royal Air Force base at West Malling in Kent is now an 800-acre estate designed in the style of an old Wealden village, with a mix of vernacular house types plus a golf course, cricket pitch, country park, schools, convenience stores, a Waitrose supermarket, pub, vet and restaurants. The centrepiece is a town square, with the original Art Deco control tower now being turned into office space.
Called Kings Hill, clusters of housing are sprinkled around the estate. Green housebuilder Environ is targeting London commuters (50 minutes to Victoria) with its latest development at the site. Keeper's Court, in Oaks Hamlet, brings a mix of apartments, cottages and four- and five-bedroom houses to the scheme. Prices from £327,500. Call 01732 848316.
Demand for homes at this maturing settlement is such that owner Liberty Property Trust has applied for permission to convert 52 acres of land earmarked for offices to residential use. Another 975 homes and a primary school are planned.