New transport links quickly improve an area and push up property prices. That’s why now is the right time to buy a ticket to ride in south-east London.
The key second phase of the East London line extension is the area’s next major connection. The line’s new Overground service already connects Highbury & Islington with Crystal Palace and West Croydon, and amazingly, the £79 million made available for a further upgrade has escaped spending cuts.
'Homebuyers take note: many good-value SE postcodes will no longer feel the isolation that has kept prices down in the past'
By the end of next year a new line will plug Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich into the Tube system for the first time and provide direct trains from Clapham to the City and Docklands. It is great news for many south London commuters who will no longer have to travel to Victoria or London Bridge before making an onward journey by Tube.
Trains will run along a spur from Rotherhithe to Clapham Junction, stopping at five stations along the way. And a new sixth station at Surrey Canal Road in Bermondsey is planned as part of a major regeneration project that includes 2,500 new homes and a sporting village on 30-derelict acres. This station will also provide four-minute train connections into London Bridge.
A new property hotspot
Homebuyers take note: many good-value SE postcodes will no longer feel the isolation that has kept prices down in the past. Now could prove a good time to buy, before the full impact of the new line is felt and buyers pile in and push up prices.
Transport for London forecasts that the fully extended East London line will boost yearly passenger numbers from nine million to 40 million by 2016. Estate agents, the first to spot up-and-coming neighbourhoods, are targeting areas close to the new route.
Following a recent opening in Crystal Palace, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, which has 52 offices across London, set up a branch in fast-gentrifying East Dulwich. "The improved transport link will really put the area on the map," says Lee Watts, managing director.
All the areas along the Surrey Quays to Clapham route are in Zone 2 and therefore relatively close to the main employment centres, yet property values in south-east London have trailed those in north and west London, largely because there haven’t been any Tube connections. Ironically, the only Tube line that travels deep into south London is the Northern line. Previous Tube improvements such as the Victoria line and Jubilee line boosted underlying property values along the new routes by 10 per cent or more.
Peckham could get the biggest lift now. Away from its gritty town centre it has pockets of handsome Victorian housing, such as the Bellenden Conservation Area, where middle-class families have already put down roots.
"The area has reached the stage where people want to live there, rather than having to live there because of the relatively cheap property," says Becky Munday, of estate agent Wooster & Stock. "People soon wake up to the pluses of good transport links."
A new rail link, 2,500 new homes and a world-class sports centre
Peckham can be divided into its northern patch, around much-improved Burgess Park; the bustling town centre and the leafier southern section either side of Peckham Rye. Nunhead Green has a village feel, with independent baker, butcher, fishmonger, florist and gastropub. The central patch of green has been tidied up and a former row of almshouses adds period charm.
Camberwell has a prized Georgian quarter and is arty, yet remains a somewhat unsung address. "It’s a bit rough in places, but where isn’t in London?" says a local estate agent, referring to the edgy commercial strip between Camberwell Green and King’s College Hospital.
The best address is the patch around Camberwell Grove and Grove Lane. Both roads rise steeply to Denmark Hill station (on the new route) and the Dulwich border. Substantial four-storey period houses cost about £1.2 million. Tree-lined Peckham Road has a handsome Victorian church, pretty Lucas Gardens and Southwark town hall.
A listed-Georgian terrace, which includes a register office, is being sold by the council, with conversion to residential the most likely outcome. Alongside this is Camberwell College of Art and an old piano factory, split into lofts.
Listed Mary Datchelor School has been redeveloped into flats and a terrace of townhouses - 90 homes in total, with communal gardens, underground parking and private tennis courts. Prices start at £399,950 (£699,950 for a house). Call St George on 020 7708 5829.
Coming soon to a site moments from Queens Road station is a Telford Homes scheme of 31 flats. Call 0870 872 0987.
But by far the biggest regeneration initiative along the route is the £850 million Surrey Canal Triangle project. Renewal, a specialist property company, wants to build 2,500 homes, a new public park and a centre of sporting excellence with indoor facilities. The 30-acre site includes Millwall FC’s stadium.
"We want to boost the area’s appeal and make it a destination of regional importance", says director Mark Taylor. Lewisham council, which backs the regeneration, has contributed £3 million to the funding of the new station.
Meanwhile, TfL has announced the opening of the northern extension of the East London line route from the new Dalston Junction station to Highbury & Islington, two months ahead of schedule.