The property spotlight is constantly changing its focus, with new areas highlighted thanks to upgraded transport links, regeneration or the arrival of new businesses or a creative community.
Even the prospect of a new bridge over the Thames can raise a district’s desirability. In recent times, a single piece of outstanding architecture, or a particularly good new homes project, has been enough to raise the bar — bringing fresh vitality to an area and making it a good place to buy in the early stages of its upward curve.
THE FOUR SUBURBS TO WATCH IN 2015:
1. IN WEST LONDON
Notting Dale is the splendidly original name for the north-western corner of the W11 postcode. Sitting between White City and Ladbroke Grove, and enclosed on two sides by roaring dual carriageways, the area has an entirely different character to Notting Hill, the much better-known and better-off district to the east.
While Notting Hill got the sweeping crescents, garden squares, then chichi boutiques and brasseries, Notting Dale lagged behind. Before the Second World War it was a notorious slum. Then in the Fifties, towering council estates grew up around the modest Victorian terraces, mews, workshops and light industrial premises. Not much else happened — until recent times.
IMAGE GALLERY: VIEW THE LATEST LONDON HOTSPOTS FOR 2015
Image gallery: new homes hotspots for 2015
Image gallery: new homes hotspots for 2015
1/14 More West
From £415,000: More West apartments opposite Latimer Road Tube feature quality architecture. Available through Peabody housing association (scroll right...)
2/14 More West
From £415,000: homes at More West offer a mixture of flats for outright purchase and shared ownership. Call 020 7775 8431
3/14 New River Village
From £325,000: homes at New River Village in Hornsey are built on the site of an old waterworks, retaining the original Victorian pumping station (scroll right...)
4/14 New River Village
From £325,000: there are 600 low-rise apartments running alongside a quarter of a mile stretch that brings fresh water to London (scroll right...)
5/14 New River Village
From £325,000: one- and two-bedroom apartments at New River Village are located just off Hornsey High Street with excellent views of Alexandra Palace. Call 020 3641 4225
6/14 Smithfield Square
From £299,950: flats at Smithfield Square, Hornsey, with a Sainsbury store on site (scroll right...)
7/14 Smithfield Square
From £299,950: homes at Smithfield Square are ideal for young, style-driven urbanites looking for a good-value, improving area (scroll right...)
8/14 Smithfield Square
From £299,950: Smithfield Square is a collection of luxury suites and apartments benefiting from a concierge service, gym, underground parking and private gardens. Call 020 3002 9460
9/14 Notting Dale
Rising star: Notting Dale in W11 is pulling in celebrity creatives including fashion designer Stella McCartney and photographer Mario Testino.
10/14 The Yellow Building
Art Deco styling: set in Notting Dale Village, The Yellow Building's trendy offices and design studios loom over the Westway.
11/14 Claude Terrace
From, £395,000: Claude Terrace is a scheme of Victorian-style townhouses aimed at young families trading up from flats (scroll right...)
12/14 Claude Terrace
From £395,000: Loughton has much to offer with the popular Abbots Park close to the development and a number of new sport facilities are currently being developed in the area (scroll right...)
13/14 Claude Terrace
From £395,000: homes at Claude Terrace benefit from short commutes, with direct trains to Liverpool Street in 13 minutes. Call 020 8808 4070
14/14 Leyton Municipal
The magnificent former Leyton Municipal Offices have been acquired, restored and brought back to life after a period of disuse, by “community developer” Lea Valley Estates. The mixed-use scheme will house new homes, leisure and business space. Call 020 8808 4070
Chrysalis Records was a trailblazer, later joined by celebrated fashion and portrait photographer Mario Testino. Stella McCartney and Cath Kidston have followed, while the Louise Blouin Foundation, in a former coachworks, is an art gallery and exhibition venue. The Yellow Building, a trendy office complex, looms over the Westway and is reminiscent of great Art Deco factories such as the Hoover Building in Perivale, putting this once-dead and desolate zone on the cultural map.
Squatters once mockingly christened the area Frestonia, after Freston Road, where they lived before eviction. Ironically, some of London’s first housing associations began their work here in the 19th century and they are now back, building new homes.
Peabody’s More West brings a mixture of flats for outright purchase and shared ownership, priced from £415,000. Call 020 7775 8431. Part of a neighbourhood upgrade spearheaded by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, good-quality architecture overcomes what at first may seem an unpromising address alongside train tracks and the Westway.
Launching soon is a scheme of four outstanding modern houses in Walmer Road. Designed by architect and lecturer Peter Salter, the copper-and-concrete homes are grouped in a courtyard and have rooftop “salons” and terraces, plus underground parking spaces. Call developer Bay Light on 020 7985 9850.
2. IN NORTH LONDON
Hornsey, postcode N8, was an old London borough, swallowed up in 1965 by newly created Haringey council. For almost 50 years, the area has been under a veil, but it is becoming a place in its own right again.
It sits at the foot of magnificent Alexandra Palace Park, has a large stock of handsome Victorian and Edwardian houses, quick train links to Moorgate and King’s Cross, and a slightly shabby tree-lined high street that is now the focus of regeneration, with original shop fronts and the parish church tower getting refurbished under the watchful eye of English Heritage. A former Salvation Army citadel, latterly a music venue, is to become a new Curzon Cinema.
New River Village, built on the site of an old waterworks, retains the Victorian pumping station and has more than 600 low-rise apartments running alongside a quarter-mile stretch of a canal that brings fresh water to London. One-bedroom flats cost from £325,000. Call Highland Estates on 020 3641 4225.
Also on the high street, a former refuse depot and swimming pool, derelict for a decade, is being transformed into a 270-home estate with a Sainsbury superstore. Smithfield Square, the first phase, launches early January. Prices start at £299,950 for studios. Call developer St James on 020 3002 9460. These are homes for young, style-driven urbanites looking for a good-value, improving area.
A far bigger project is in the pipeline on the other side of the railway tracks, where planning permission is in place for 1,080 homes on 11 acres of National Grid land. One of the site’s Victorian gas holders was built using a then-innovative geodesic design, an early example of a building style associated with the curves of the Gherkin in the City of London.
3. IN EAST LONDON
Leyton, postcode E10, has no jazzy new skyscrapers or ritzy shopping mall to match nearby Stratford — but this East End outpost is nevertheless basking in post-Olympics sunshine, sharing the legacy benefits of the 2012 Games.
See for yourself by strolling down the local high road, where traditional shop fronts have been revitalised with a colourful facelift. High street champion Mary Portas would be impressed.
The A12 roars through the area but Leyton has the Lea Valley for a back garden and also borders Hackney Marshes and Wanstead Flats, among the largest areas of open land in London. Plus, it is on the Central line in travel Zone 3.
As far as investment goes, it looks a good bet. Leyton is jam-packed with Victorian and Edwardian terraces. These homes are not always beautiful, but according to one local estate agent they offer “freakishly good value” by London standards, with lots falling into the £400,000 to £650,000 price bracket.
Developers have been quietly adding to the stock. Claude Terrace is a scheme of Victorian-style townhouses aimed at young families trading up from flats. When launched a year ago, prices started at £395,000. The magnificent former Leyton Municipal Offices have been acquired, restored and brought back to life after a period of disuse, by “community developer” Lea Valley Estates.
The listed building is now a space for local businesses, while its great hall is an events venue. The borough’s former technical institute, part of the building, houses a real ale pub and 32 homes are being created within its walls. Call 020 8808 4070.
4. IN SOUTH LONDON
Brockley, postcode SE4, was discovered by young upwardly mobile commuters back in the Eighties, but the Overground extension through this leafy swathe of south-east London has been a game changer, bringing hipsters from Dalston, young professionals working in the City and West End, and families priced out of Greenwich and Blackheath.
The charms of Brockley lie almost exclusively within its main conservation area, a network of wide, tree-lined avenues surrounding Hilly Fields, a green expanse where parents cluster with teenage daughters attending Prendergast School, alongside the park.
Many of the vast Victorian houses became flats but increasingly they are reverting to single homes, along with more modest, flat-fronted, semi-basement terrace homes. Nothing much had changed for 20-plus years around the local train station, but with the East London line extension has come a batch of lively new shabby-chic bars and cafés selling organic food, plus delis and a micro brewery. It is a new hub for Brockley.
“We opened in summer 2012 and the change has been dramatic. There are so many newcomers to the area and a fantastic sense of community,” says Alexandra Cousin-Bedford, owner of The Gantry, a fun and friendly bar and restaurant serving cocktails and a French menu.
Splendid Rivoli Ballroom, a popular local venue, is touted as a redevelopment candidate. Local conservationists help keep builders at bay, but small residential schemes are springing up. A used-car showroom butting up against the tracks is being redeveloped into homes, as is Brockley police station in Howson Road.
Brockley Cross, a hazardous double-roundabout junction and former crime spot, has been given a pedestrian-friendly makeover and enhanced by Tea Factory, a development of copper-clad flats that cantilevers out above street-level premises including an art gallery. Prices from £350,000. Call estate agent Sebastian Roche on 020 8690 8888.