Property insider: Surrey Quays SE16

Local estate agent Chris Early shares his expert knowledge of this peaceful neighbourhood in south-east London.
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Surrey Quays, SE16
Built around scenic docks and marinas, this peaceful residential area has modern cottages, townhouses and flats in new apartment blocks with water views
Early morning commuters from Surrey Quays begin their day by boarding a deluxe high-speed catamaran for the five-minute trip to Canary Wharf, or quietly continue along the Thames to disembark at Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Bankside, Embankment and Waterloo Piers.

As London pushes south-east, Surrey Quays has grown up and created a waterside residential area at the southern base of the Rotherhithe peninsula, from Canada Water to South Dock. An overground station at Surrey Quays connects to the Jubilee line at Canada Water Tube station in less than five minutes.

“Surrey Quays is almost like an island, jutting out into the Thames with the A2 road at its base,” says Chris Early, sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Surrey Quays office. “It is an unusual area that you could drive straight past, which keeps traffic congestion to a minimum and crime rates low.”

This is a district born from reclaimed docklands, so there is not a great deal of period architecture. Built around scenic docks and marinas, property for the most part includes modern homes in apartment blocks and town houses that were mainly built in the late Eighties and early Nineties during a huge regeneration programme.

“The architecture is simple but well-formed and luxurious in parts. The area has a very ‘business-like’ feel, with most residents working in Canary Wharf or the City,” says Early.

What types of properties are typical to Surrey Quays?

Surrey Quays has many one- and two-bedroom flats with parking, as well as modern townhouses with freeholds and smaller two-up, two-down cottages in streets such as Somerford Way.

What types of buyers are attracted to the area?
We generally deal with first-time buyers, aged between 20 to 35, who have money to spend, or have deposits from parents. A large percentage of buyers are from abroad, from countries such as China, Russia, South Africa and Australia, attracted by good property prices and transport links.

We also have a good level of buy-to-let investors. Some buyers will have portfolios of over 200 properties in the area, but Surrey Quays also attracts first-time investors too.

What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
Homes with direct river views in popular warehouse conversions, such as Canada Wharf and Globe Wharf. There is also a collection of roads with freehold properties, including Marlow Way, Hurley Crescent and Bray Crescent, all behind Canada Water, where properties have a bit of a water view but are still close to the station.

Where are the 'hidden gems'?
Properties that fall just over the SE16 border into Deptford in SE8 are real gems, such as Aragon Tower and homes in Yeoman Street and Enterprise Way. The flats are identical to Surrey Quays properties and often have fabulous river views, but because the transport links aren’t quite as good they are a bit cheaper. There is currently a lot of development in Deptford underway and planned for the future.

What are the best investment opportunities in the area?
Properties that have been arranged as a house for multiple occupancy achieve the highest yields. Rooms are rented out to professionals and students and the return is excellent. The architecture in and around Canada Water and Surry Quays lends itself to this business model and the rents achieved are phenomenal. However, this is a high maintenance investment and not right for first time buy-to-let investors.

How is local parking?
Parking in the area is really easy. Most of the properties will have an allocated space and there are only a few roads that have restrictions.

What are service charges in the area like?
Service charges range from £800 a year up to £4,500 a year. This of course depends on the size of the development and the facilities available within. Many blocks have lifts, while some have porters and leisure facilities.

What are your favourite viewings to show potential buyers?
I love going to Aragon Tower because when you come out of the lift and enter the property the views are breathtaking. You can see all the way down to the O2 centre and Canary Wharf, and, depending on what floor you are on, you can see up to St Paul’s Cathedral and The Wheel. Aragon Tower is a 24-storey, ex-council block that was bought by Berkeley Homes in 2006 and completely renovated.

If money were no object, where would you buy in this area?
I would buy in Canada Wharf or Bermondsey Wall.

Chris Early is the Sales Manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward's Surrey Quays office

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