Word on the street: Bankside SE1

In the first of a new series, our expert Bankside agent shares insider knowledge of where to buy in SE1.
There’s a buzz that surrounds the central London district of Bankside, SE1, this pearl in the necklace of South Bank destinations.

It has become a sought-after place to live. Residents don’t just have a huge cultural hub on their doorstep, but their commuting options to all parts of the city are enviable.

Chris Mullin of Stirling Ackroyd has had 10 years experience working in the SE1 property market, and covers the wide range of options on this patch.

Houses and flats for sale in Bankside
Houses and flats to rent in Bankside

He says: “Bankside is the small strip of land north of Southwark Street up to the Thames and west of London Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge. But the word is also used to describe the wider SE1 area. This expansive postcode stretches across Borough Market, Clink Street, Borough, London Bridge, Southwark, Waterloo and into Lambeth, as well as to Elephant & Castle in the south and eastwards to Bermondsey. It is a vast location to work in, which keeps things interesting for an agent!”

The planned expansion of Thameslink, and exciting new buildings going up, such as Shard of Glass, indicate that there’s much more to come in the vibant regeneration of Bankside.

Property lowdown: an insider’s guide

Properties: a diverse mix of warehouse conversions, period buildings and contemporary new-build apartments. The regeneration of Bankside first started 25 years ago, with the transformation of warehouses and period properties around Bermondsey Street, Shad Thames and Clink Street.

The recent transformation of Bermondsey Square is part of the latest wave of urban renewal in SE1. Elephant and Castle, less than a mile south of London Bridge, is set to be the next large-scale regeneration in the area.

Bankside has traditionally attracted three types of buyers:
* City Workers (either finance or law) and people commuting via the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf;
* 'Bank of Mum and Dad' buyers - overseas buyers securing properties for their children attending nearby Guys or Kings Universities as students, or just starting careers their careers in London;
* Second home owners - with a main residence outside of London or abroad – tend to use Bankside properties as a London or UK base. These buyers tend to be predominantly cash purchasers.

Other buyers attracted to the area include actors, doctors, graphic designers, fashion designers and MPs. Several SE1 residents work in the West End, a 15-minute bus ride from Bankside.

Hottest property: Benbow House in New Globe Walk is a sought-after residential block considered to be a safe investment option. This development has unrivalled views of the Thames, the City and St Paul’s. But these vistas come at a price, with some recent sales being in excess of £1,400 per sq ft. For a more reasonable £500 per sq ft, many people also go for The Jam Factory, a warehouse conversion off Tower Bridge Road.

The slow burner: anything one street away from the river but not directly on the bank is a good option, for example properties on Clink Street and Borough Market. There's very little land left for development in Bankside, and property prices are not likely to rise quickly, but this also means you're unlikely to lose any money along the way.

Investment opportunities: at the moment there is a significant shortage of rental homes, which means that any buy-to-let property is really going to perform. There is a particular shortage of three-bedroom properties, both in sales and lettings, so these would make particularly good investments.

Mullin recommends that potential investors should “always check the service charges for buildings, such as portered blocks, as some will carry a charge of anything up to £5,000 per annum, which would clearly eat into a rental yield. Anything below £3,000 is average, while smaller blocks have a service charge of less than £2,000.”

Chris Mullin is the head of residential sales at Stirling Ackroyd and has had 10 years experience of working in the Bankside property market (stirlingackroyd.com).

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