The first orbital rail route around London launches this weekend when Boris Johnson cuts the tape on the final phase of the £1 billion Overground upgrade. It will be especially good news for homeowners and renters in south-east London who will no longer feel cut off from the capital's rail transport network.
This last stage has provided a £75 million direct link between Surrey Quays in Rotherhithe and Clapham Junction, with five stops along the way via Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich — through some of inner London's most affordable postcodes.
The spur is contained in Zone 2, so many commuters will be able to avoid travelling into central London for onward journeys to places such as Docklands or Shoreditch.
The rise of East Dulwich
Estate agents, spotting the value in these up-and-coming neighbourhoods, are targeting areas lining the new route. Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, which has 52 offices across London, has set up a new branch in fast-gentrifying East Dulwich.
"Rents are rising, particularly in areas that were once less popular," says the firm's James Thornett.
"Phase one of the East London line upgrade to Forest Hill and Croydon caused big property ripples, with an influx of Canary Wharf workers. The transport pluses of this final phase will be attractive to homebuyers curious about south-east London."
Surrey Quays has already become a rental hotspot, with rents rising 13 per cent in the last year — more than anywhere else in London, he adds.
A new sporting village
A further new station is planned at Surrey Canal Road in Bermondsey as part of a major regeneration project that includes 2,500 new homes and a sporting village on 30 derelict acres. "We want to boost the area's appeal and make it a destination of regional importance," says Mark Taylor, director of developer Renewal. This station will provide four-minute train connections to London Bridge, where more than 10,000 people are likely to find jobs in the Shard.
London& Quadrant housing association has a sizeable new development called Bermondsey South which has been built alongside the awesome railway viaduct that cuts through this part of south-east London.
Shared-ownership flats cost from £48,750 for a 25 per cent share (full price £195,000). Combined rent and mortgage payments start at £780 a month. Buyers need minimum savings of £3,950 and must already live in Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Bromley or Bexley. Call 0844 4069800.
The Overground spur from Surrey Quays will cement Rotherhithe's place as a halfway point between Canary Wharf and the West End.
A shopping and leisure precinct built in the Eighties is the main hub but lacks what planners call "a sense of place". Under way next door is 40-acre Canada Quays, which Southwark council is promoting as a "bustling new zone".
Eventually it will have more than 2,000 new homes, a showpiece library, offices, shops, bars and restaurants. Barratt has a programme to build 900 of these homes.
Maple Quays, the first phase, includes Ontario Point, a 25-storey tower with a communal roof terrace. Prices from £430,000. Call 020 7237 9311. Also in Rotherhithe, Marine Wharf is a 454-home new development close to South Dock Marina, London's largest.
Apartment blocks surround a series of landscaped courtyards. Prices from £275,000. Call Berkeley Homes on 020 8694 3100.
Peckham’s a winner
Peckham is tipped to be another winner. Away from the gritty town centre are pockets of attractive Victorian housing. More middle-class families and young professionals are putting down roots.
Peckham splits into three sub-areas: the northern patch around fast-improving Burgess Park; the bustling town centre and the leafier southern section on either side of Peckham Rye.
Nunhead Green is worth investigating. This has a village feel, with a baker, butcher, fishmonger, florist and gastropub. The central patch of green has been tidied up and a former row of almshouses adds period charm. Southwark council plans to upgrade the area and has released land on Gordon Road to Wandle Housing Association.
Albany Place is a new scheme next to Burgess Park, Southwark, fresh from an £8 million revamp.
L&Q housing association is selling one-bedroom apartments priced from £220,000. Call 0844 406 9290.