London's new homes building boom - and the six inner-city boroughs to watch
* Despite 278,000 new homes planned for London during the next 10 years, there will still be a shortage. The Mayor's 2020 Vision for London says at least 400,000 homes are required within the next decade
A building spree in six inner-city boroughs — Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Wandsworth — will account for almost 60 per cent of the 278,000 new homes planned for London during the next decade.
Analysis of the capital’s “development pipeline” reveals likely hotspots and provides valuable research for home buyers, and for investors hoping to buy the right property in the best investment area. And as the population growth in those six boroughs is predicted to be among the highest in London, demand for housing is set to generate prices rises in these areas.
Fresh data from the 2011 Census shows that London’s population jumped faster than expected during the preceding 10 years — climbing 850,000 to reach 8.17 million — and it is forecast to hit 10 million by 2030.
Mayor Boris Johnson’s 2020 Vision, a blueprint for London’s investment needs, says at least 400,000 homes are required during the next decade.
“New housing will fall some way short of demand in most areas,” says Grainne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank.
Across London, about 2,000 housing developments are under construction or have planning consent, and schemes of 1,000-plus homes make up 35 per cent of the total.
Planners are promoting large-scale, high-density developments to help cope with rising demand, while the Mayor and local authorities are bringing forward public-sector land for new homes.
Lewisham and Greenwich
These adjoining south-of-the-river boroughs are swinging into fashion as buyers wake up to the quick train links to central London. Estate agents predict a new wave of buyers working at the Shard and the wider London Bridge Quarter.
After years on the drawing board, Lewisham Gateway, a major redevelopment of the town centre, is poised to start. This project brings 800 homes, a new town square, riverside park, shops and offices. An ugly roundabout is being removed and traffic rerouted to create a pedestrian-friendly public realm.
In tandem with this, nearby Catford Greyhound Stadium is to be redeveloped into 589 homes, feeding into the wider regeneration of Catford town centre. The former dog track sits between two train stations providing 15-minute links to London Bridge.
Property values in the area are currently among the lowest in inner London. Barratt, the stadium developer, has released a new phase of apartments at its 788-home Renaissance scheme in Lewisham. Prices from £181,000. Call 0844 5566 166.
Deptford, which straddles both boroughs, is being touted as the new Shoreditch. It has more artists per square mile than anywhere else in the capital and is 30 per cent cheaper than its east London rival.
A masterplan for Deptford Creek, an industrial waterway cutting into the Thames, has been agreed by the two councils to advance the piecemeal regeneration of recent years.
New Capital Quay, a “waterfront village” of 980 homes, occupies a commanding position at the mouth of the creek. Prices from £299,000. Call 020 7620 1500. A key piece of infrastructure is a new bridge across the creek providing a riverwalk link.
Other new schemes include The Distillery, a conversion of the historic Seager Gin factory — prices from £225,000 — and Tool Works in the Ashburnham Triangle conservation area. Prices from £350,000. Call Galliard on 020 7620 1500.
At Greenwich Peninsula, by the O2 arena, a shiny new district is being created — up to 10,000 new homes, 3.5 million square feet of business and retail space, 48 acres of parkland and nature reserves and 1.6 miles of riverfront — all just 20 minutes on the Tube from the West End.
Quintain, Bellway and Countryside Properties are the developers involved. New standards in “urban mixed-use design” are promised. Most of the housing will be high-rise and high-density — tower blocks, with an accent on public space rather than private gardens — to form a cluster of neighbourhoods, where pedestrians and cyclists have priority over cars.
Tower Hamlets and Newham
These boroughs cover the old East End heartland, the major regeneration zones of Canning Town and Royal Docks as well as increasingly fashionable City-fringe districts such as Whitechapel and Aldgate.
A second wave of development is coming to Canary Wharf, which is finally maturing into an attractive residential neighbourhood, with better local amenities and improving transport links, including Crossrail, the east-west train route that will offer a direct 44-minute service to Heathrow, a boon for jet-set bankers and lawyers.
In anticipation of this, 10 new high-rise schemes are set to rise from the ground. These include an 800-home development at South Quay Plaza by Berkeley Homes. Diamond Tower, on the Canary Wharf estate, will have 500 flats.
Twisting Baltimore Tower will have 330 homes, while Wood Wharf will deliver 1,500 homes. Currently for sale is Lincoln Plaza at Millharbour, with 380 homes priced from £300,000. Call 020 7620 1500.
Southwark — the star of regeneration
Southwark has been a regeneration star (Bankside, Borough, Bermondsey) for at least a decade and its rise from City spillover district to premier league address is continuing.
Blackfriars Road, a wide boulevard-type thoroughfare leading from the river to Elephant & Castle, is the next focus. At least 1,700 new homes are planned in the immediate vicinity. Barratt is to bulldoze outdated office blocks for a 400-flats scheme at St George’s Circus, while Linden Homes is proposing 124 flats on the site of St George’s Mansions.
Rotherhithe is another hot area. Sellar Property Group, whose Shard is a short hop away, has unveiled proposals for 1,046 homes in the £1 billion 40-acre Canada Quays zone, a new town centre for Southwark. A head-turning new library, the shape of an inverted pyramid, has opened, while rising up is Ontario Point, a 24-storey residential tower, part of a 900-home development. Prices from £505,000. Call Foxtons on 020 7973 2020.
Wandsworth — Nine Elms and now a brewery
Nine Elms, a new riverside district and embassy quarter, will bring 16,000 new homes over the coming years but redevelopment of Wandsworth town centre may have a bigger impact on the lives of locals. An ambitious programme aims to transform the high street and its car-clogged one-way system.
Long-delayed redevelopment of historic Ram Brewery, a six-acre complex fronting River Wandle, is the key project. Enclosed by high walls, the brewery has been inaccessible to the public for generations but is set to become an animated waterfront quarter, with 669 homes, bars, shops, eateries and loft-style offices.
Minerva, the developer, has ditched plans for two skyscrapers in favour of a single residential tower alongside restored heritage buildings including a listed stable block, which will incorporate a museum and micro brewery. About half the site will be open public space, with a market square. Visit therambrewery.com