There can be few more unpleasant London experiences than travelling on a hot and crowded rush-hour train in the height of summer. But if you live in south London, there is another option. Clean, green, and sometimes air- conditioned, the London Tramlink turns 16 this year, and Transport for London has just decided to include it on London transport maps.
Since 2000, millions of people living from Wimbledon to Croydon to Beckenham and New Addington have been able to use the tram, while along the line there have been some healthy property price rises and high levels of new-homes building.
"Average prices along the entire length of Tramlink have risen 19 per cent in the last two years"
“Property hunters are starting to pay closer attention to homes on tram lines,” said Johnny Morris, research director at Hamptons International. “The tram is well used by commuters living on the outskirts of Croydon, Wimbledon and Beckenham to reach links into central London. These connections have encouraged developers to move into areas outside town centres. The number of homes built in Merton Park and Wandle Park, two neighbourhoods served only by the tram, have increased rapidly.”
Exclusive research by Hamptons International analysing performance along the entire length of Tramlink found average prices have risen 19 per cent in the last two years, to an average of £384,041. But half a dozen locations have seen price growth of 30 per cent or more in the same period.
The out-and-out Tramlink winner is Mitcham Junction (which also has an overground station). It has seen prices rise a resounding 43 per cent, to an average price of £420,000. Flats are priced at £296,535, and houses at £440,000.
The area passes the green space test, with both Mitcham Common and Poulter Park close by, while the local Cranmer Primary School is good with some outstanding features according to Ofsted. The housing stock can be uninspiring — plenty of Thirties to Sixties terraces with three bedrooms, priced at about £350,000 and ripe for improvement.
Two-and-a-half miles from Mitcham Junction, Morden Road has done almost as well, with prices up 40 per cent to an average £684,338. Houses in this area cost an average £694,338, while flats cost an average £376,446.
This is another location with great green space, with Deen City Farm and the National Trust’s Morden Hall Park nearby. Merton Park Primary and Ursuline High School (girls) are both rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, while Pelham Primary School and Rutlish School (boys) are both “good”.
Other Tramlink areas well worth exploring include Birkbeck, another area with an overground stop and on the northern fringes of South Norwood Country Park.
Prices here have risen 36 per cent in two years to an average £430,030. Flats here typically cost £304,187, and houses come in at £304,187.
This area has green space and well-performing schools — Stewart Fleming Primary School gets a “good” Ofsted report —and while local shops and pubs are basic, Crystal Palace’s cafés and shops are only a mile or so away.Warren Pinto, senior sales valuer at Proctors estate agents, says buyers priced out of areas such as Crystal Palace, Penge and Sydenham have boosted prices around Birkbeck. “There are some beautiful houses in the area. I’d say that 90 per cent of the market is made up of period properties. And we get a lot of first-time buyers, buying together, and typically they want a two-bedroom garden flat at about £430,000.”
Just west of Mitcham Junction, Belgrave Walk scored a 33 per cent price uplift, to an average £263,500, making it one of the most affordable Tramlink options. Flats around Belgrave Walk cost an average £208,833, and houses sell for an average £318,167.
Near Croydon, Blackhorse Lane has enjoyed price growth of 31 per cent, to an average £337,862. Houses in this area cost £373,300, while flats typically cost £258,125.
Focus of huge amounts of regeneration investment and location of London’s third Westfield mall, West Croydon has prices up 30 per cent to an average £294,394. Flats cost an average of £258,380, while houses typically sell at £406,938.