Once considered a Tube-starved corner of London best ignored, the SE postcodes are being opened up to home buyers and renters by vastly improved transport links and the affordability of property.
Despite recent price hikes in south-east London, in general, property there is still significantly lower than districts to the north or west of the capital.
The extended East London Line, part of the Overground network, has brought areas such as Forest Hill and Sydenham in from the cold.
Crossrail will be a game-changer for Woolwich and bordering areas such as Charlton, while the proposed Bakerloo line extension from Elephant & Castle via Catford to suburban Kent, the capital’s next major Tube upgrade, is already causing property ripples.
Where to buy in 2016: under the radar
Where to buy in 2016: under the radar
1/16 Heading south
Close to the action: more and more buyers are now making the move south of the river, amazed by the value for money they can get.
2/16 Telegraph Hill
High point: Telegraph Hill, just south of New Cross, is gaining in popularity, no doubt helped by good rail links to London Bridge.
3/16 Oslo Tower
£799,000: this 19-storey tower has furnished penthouses with stunning views in three directions over London (scroll right...)
4/16 Oslo Tower
£799,000: flats at Oslo Tower also come with a parking space and a £23,970 stamp duty contribution. Call 0844 811 4334.
5/16 Greenland Place
From £335,000: located in the vibrant area of Deptford, Greenland Place has 562 flats in Zone 2 (scroll right...)
6/16 Greenland Place
Booming area: Greenland Place offers new flats from £335,000 with 12-hour concierge service and residents fitness suite. Canary Wharf is also within easy reach (scroll right...)
7/16 Greenland Place
From £335,000: flats at Greenland Pace have courtyard gardens, a concierge service and cycle parking, as well as shops and cafés. Call 0844 811 4334.
8/16 Crystal Palace
Leafy appeal: the Victorians filled south-east London with open spaces, as here at Crystal Palace, a recently underrated district now improving thanks to the arrival of the Overground.
From £450,000: so-called because of the area postcode, is a new scheme of 140 flats overlooking a small park (scroll right...)
From £450,000: located in Elephant & Castle, flats at Base17 are spacious, many featuring modern open-plan living areas opening onto private gardens. Call 0844 406 9800
11/16 Gellatly Road
£875,000: this four-bedroom property in Gellatly Road comes with a roof terrace offering great views of the City. Call 020 7407 6033
12/16 St Clement's Heights
Social cause: as part of Crest Nicholson's affordable housing contributions, 50 one- and two-bedroom almshouses will be built at St Clement's Heights in Sydenham Hill for needy elderly residents. Call 020 3640 7577.
13/16 Lower Sydenham
Modern living: Lower Sydenham's Dylon textile factory is to become 223 flats. All flats will feature private balconies or terraces and residents will also have access to a large communal garden and play areas for children. Call 020 3640 7577.
14/16 Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf
The Canary Wharf business district has increased the allure of the south-east London address. Rotherhithe, on the opposite bank of the Thames, has been a big beneficiary.
15/16 Bermondsey Works
New addition: Bermondsey Works in SE16 offers 147 apartments (scroll right...)
16/16 Bermondsey Works
There are one-to-three bedroom flats, penthouses and villas, close to the buzz of Bermondsey Street's lively restaurants and cafes, as well as the cultural attractions along the South Bank. Call 020 3538 3457
SOUTH-EAST LONDON: THE LOWDOWN
South-east London stretches from Bermondsey to Beckenham, from Woolwich to West Norwood, and includes some buzzing Zone 2 districts close to the main employment hubs of the West End, City and Canary Wharf.
Hampstead and Primrose Hill in north London may be incomparable, but south-east London has leafy town-and-country equivalents.
Blackheath occupies a high plateau alongside majestic Greenwich Park and has a village centre plus private roads with detached houses in big plots. Developer St James is working on a scheme of 30 homes on the site of a former car showroom moments from the village.
Dulwich — “near but so far” could be its motto — has a duck pond and cottages, a picture gallery, working tollgate, renowned private schools and a golf course.
And beyond the snaking South Circular Road are underrated inner suburbs such as Shooter’s Hill and Crystal Palace.
Most south-east London areas are connected by quick overland rail links to the centre. There is plenty of open green space, a seemingly endless stock of Victorian and inter-war terrace houses that can be reconfigured for modern living, plus a swelling number of new housing projects as developers tap into rising demand.
“A lot of buyers have pre-conceived ideas about south-east London, but there are more and more converts, including cross-river movers,” says Huw Davies of estate agent Caddington Blue. “When they discover up-and-coming areas like Brockley and Nunhead, they’re taken aback by the value for money they can get — and how nice these areas can be. Similar homes north of the river can cost twice as much.”
So buyers are realising they can get a property twice as big for half the price and still get to work quickly.
One hot address is Telegraph Hill, just south of New Cross, which has six-minute trains to London Bridge. Large Victorian semis priced up to £1.5 million are attracting City people, doctors and lawyers from other parts of London. These houses sit in wide roads and have at least 2,000 sq ft of space plus a 100-ft long garden.
A rare new-build scheme in Gellatly Road includes one property with a lovely roof terrace offering panoramic views of the City. Priced at £875,000. Call 020 7407 6033.
THE BAKERLOO LINE EXTENSION
The Bakerloo line extension will run through new tunnels either along Old Kent Road or via Camberwell to New Cross Gate, then on to Lewisham and via Beckenham to Hayes. A spur to Bromley town centre is also being considered.
Trains will start operating after 2025, meaning there is a wait, but the point is that the extension will cement the future of this up-and-coming swathe of London. People who want to put down roots are factoring the transport upgrade into buying decisions.
OLD KENT ROAD: ONE OF THE MAYOR'S "OPPORTUNITY AREAS"
A new “opportunity area” designated by Boris Johnson covers Old Kent Road and the corridor of land either side of it. Already new housing is sprouting up. Bermondsey Works is a 147-home scheme by Telford Homes. Call 01992 809800. The Bath House has 27 apartments. Call Higgins Homes on 020 8003 0613.
MORE SOUTH-EAST LONDON SPOTS TO WATCH
Other areas on the rise include Ladywell, which has acquired “village” status following streetscaping improvements and the opening of a deli and other independent shops, and Brockley, where bars and eateries, organic food cafés, delis and a micro brewery are clustered around the train station. Under way here, too, is a scheme of new apartments.
The main conservation area is a network of wide, tree-lined avenues surrounding Hilly Fields, a green expanse where parents cluster with daughters attending Prendergast secondary school, situated alongside the park. Many of the vast Victorian houses have been split into flats, but increasingly they are reverting to single residences, along with more modest flat-fronted, semi-basement terrace homes.
Sydenham Hill rises sharply from leafy Dulwich before coming to a halt on the high ground of Crystal Palace. There are few better vantage points of the City. Coming soon at St Clement’s Heights is a scheme of 26 apartments, 20 houses and 50 charitable almhouses (for older residents “of little means” of Westminster and Lewisham ) on a six-acre estate. Crest Nicholson, the developer, is also redeveloping the former Dylon textile factory at Lower Sydenham into 223 apartments.
While some people doubt south of the river will ever catch up with north London, it seems inevitable that even the most unloved SE postcodes will get smartened up at some stage. Such areas may be the best ones to look for properties if you can play the longer game.
A FRESH TAKE ON DOCKLANDS
The Canary Wharf business district has increased the allure of south-east London addresses. Rotherhithe, on the opposite bank of the Thames, has been a big beneficiary. The former docks area is undergoing a second wave of regeneration and is growing in status.
The Jubilee line and a Thames Clippers river bus service already connect Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf. On the horizon is a pedestrian and cycle bridge, one of 13 new river crossings planned by Transport for London. The bridge will be a convenient conduit for bike-riding and walk-to-work commuters, boosting Rotherhithe’s draw.
“The area is being discovered by a new generation of young professionals priced out of Shad Thames and Borough,” says James Hyman of estate agents Cluttons.
“It’s in Zone 2, and negatives such as a lack of neighbourhood shops and bars are being eliminated.”
One telltale sign of its growing popularity is the jump in passenger drops reported by taxi firm Addison Lee. Rotherhithe/Bermondsey is the capital’s “destination hotspot”, with a 170 per cent increase in journeys over the past three years.
Canada Water is the main hub, effectively a new town centre for Southwark an improved public space, a splendid new library and smart apartment schemes creating 4,000 new homes.
Property giant British Land is transforming 40 acres of land (5.5m sq ft of new development) that includes outdated Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and a redundant printworks.
Sellar Group, whose Shard of Glass is a short hop away, has unveiled plans for 1,046 homes ranging from studio apartments to townhouses, alongside restaurants, shops, cinema, a public square and dock basin. Visit sellarcanadawater.com. Notting Hill Housing is a development partner.
Launching soon is Quebec Quarter — 151 apartments, some for shared-ownership. Call L&Q on 0844 406 9800.
Anchor Point in Salter Road is another new scheme. Two-bedroom apartments cost from £550,000. Call Kalmars on 020 7940 7980.
Housebuilder Barratt has a big presence in this area. Furnished penthouses at 19-storey Oslo Tower cost £799,000 and come with a parking space and a £23,970 stamp duty contribution. One-bedroom flats at Greenland Place in Deptford cost from £335,000. Call 0844 811 4334.
ON THE CUSP OF ZONE 1: WALWORTH
Walworth is a remarkably uncelebrated and undervalued district on the cusp of Zone 1. It’s so close to the centre that it gets into the large print pages of the A-Z.
Two of the area’s sprawling post-war, rundown council estates — Heygate and Aylesbury — are being redeveloped, which is helping to change perceptions, while investment is spilling over from Elephant & Castle regeneration.
Colourful and quirky East Street Market and Sir John Soane’s Church of St Peter at Liverpool Grove are among the area’s attractions, while behind the gritty high street are period gems, such as Sutherland Square and a Church Commissioners’ estate of charming terrace houses.
BASE17, so-called because of the area postcode, is a new scheme of 140 apartments overlooking a small park. Prices from £450,000. Call KFH on 020 3792 6073.
Nearby Harvard Gardens has 147 new flats launching in February. Call L&Q on 0844 406 9800.
A former council depot and listed public baths at Manor Place is being redeveloped into 270 homes by Notting Hill Housing.
Park View in Brandon Street is a boutique scheme of nine apartments, including a penthouse with a huge terrace priced at £795,000. Call 020 7407 6033.