AFFORDABLE AUTUMN HOMES
Young buyers who are keen on a price cut can make their home search easier with expert advice from Ruth Bloomfield
THE shops are full of school uniforms and winter coats, the summer holiday pictures are all over Facebook and the property market is revving up, with buyers keen to be in a new home by Christmas. So how do you find that good-value autumn launch?
“There has been a general slowdown across London,” says Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, adding that he can’t see any significant improvement until the impact of Britain’s departure from Europe is better understood. “The days of moving every couple of years have gone.”
The good news is, Cook believes the mainstream London market has bottomed out. It may stay flat for the next few years, but price falls are unlikely.
Ben Babington, director of residential development for London at JacksonStops & Staff, says the slower market means buyers “can take two or three weeks to consider a property, speak to agents, walk the local area and negotiate a little on price”.
Developers in prime central London are knocking 10 to 15 per cent off new flats in good-quality comparatively affordable areas for young professionals — which goes a long way towards paying stamp duty and solicitors.
There are also opportunities in some developments where off-plan buyers of three or four years ago, disappointed in the price growth, are selling on as completion dates grow nearer. Speak to local agents, who will know what is for sale and what is near completion.
A clever choice of location is crucial. Just south of the massive Elephant & Castle regeneration zone, Walworth, a patchwork of Victorian streets with some grim, mid-century brutalist towers and a down-to-earth, slightly shabby high street, is a smart place to start. It’s surprisingly affordable for a central location. There’s no Tube station, which means a 10-15 minute walk to Elephant & Castle, but you are within walking distance of Burgess Park, Borough Market and the bars and restaurants of Bermondsey Street.
The Walworth Collection is a small, gated development of 58 flats, starting at £450,000 for a one-bedroom flat and £590,000 for a two-bedroom flat. Visit kfh.co.uk. Close by, in Zone 1 Kennington, SE11, micro flats builder Pocket Living has one-bedroom homes at its five-storey Sail Street & Juxon Street blocks from £332,000. The train links are excellent: it’s a seven-minute walk to Lambeth North, and 15 minutes to Waterloo, Vauxhall, Kennington or Elephant & Castle.
At 410sq ft, the flats are about 20 per cent cheaper than larger, similar properties in the area. But bedrooms are a decent size, the open-plan living room/ kitchens have big windows and high ceilings, and there’s a residents’ roof terrace. Buyers must be first timers, with a household income of less than £90,000. Visit pocketliving.com.
POCKET LIVING is launching another scheme at the end of this month in Lewisham, between regenerating New Cross and almost-there Deptford. The 20 one-bedroom flats, built around a communal garden, start from £ 244,000. However, all the smart design in the world can’t disguise the fact that they are tiny — usually about 300-400sq ft — and a recent study by Which? cast a worrying shadow, expressed by others, over the concept of building this small.
Critics suggest it is highly likely that these small properties may not increase in value at the same rate as flats of a “normal” size. In London, it was found that micro homes increased in value by 11.8 per cent between 2013 and last year, when London-wide price growth was an average 14.5 per cent.
If you cannot cope with small living, you could move a little further out — which young Londoners have been doing in their tens of thousands.
Between Greenwich and New Cross, Deptford has become a popular staging post for first-time buyers, with comparatively affordable flats and good transport links — 10- minute direct trains to Cannon Street station, and about 25 minutes to Canary Wharf by
Docklands Light Railway. There have been some monster developments in Deptford in recent years, Convoy’s
Wharf, with 3,500 new homes on the site of Henry VIII’s shipyard, being the largest. The area has upped its number of shops, bars and restaurants, and still retains some authentic character. Deptford Market is fun, there are some good traditional pubs and loads of art galleries.
At Anthology Deptford Foundry, prices for one-bedroom flats start at £360,000, with two-bedroom flats at £470,000. For that you get a contemporary apartment with a private balcony close to Deptford Park.
In keeping with its history as a foundry site, this good-looking development has a bit of an industrial vibe, with workspaces for artists and designers. The first homes will be ready to move into in 2019. Visit anthology.london for more. Three miles away, East Dulwich has been totally transformed with great shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants along once-dreary Lordship Lane. Here in SE22, boutique homes developments are springing up.
The Tribeca, in Crystal Palace Road, has 18 flats and four townhouses, which will be completed by December. Prices start at £480,000 for one-bedroom flats, and £599,950 for two-bedroom flats. This scheme is great for City workers, with trains to London Bridge in just over a quarter of an hour. Visit jacksonstops.co.uk for more.
BUYERS determined to have a Zone 2 address could consider Merchants Walk in Bow, where two-bedroom flats by Peabody are priced from £495,000, with Help to Buy London available. See merchantswalk. co.uk for more.
Close to Devon Road Docklands Light Railway station and therefore great for those working in Canary Wharf and the City, the flats have big windows and some spectacular night-time views of east London. Specification is high, with Silestone worktops and Bosch appliances in the kitchen.
The flipside — because there always is one with property — is that although Bow is central, right now there is not a lot going on in terms of entertainment in the absolute immediate area, although as the development matures, shops and cafés are planned.
Just within the North Circular, the final phase of homes at Banbury Park, Walthamstow, will go on sale this autumn with JLL. Prices for two-bedroom flats start at £450,000 — which is plenty of space for your money by London standards, and Help to Buy London is available so you will only need a five per cent deposit. Visit jll. co.uk for full details.
The downside is that Walthamstow Central station is just over a mile away, so although transport links from there are good you will need to get your trainers on and walk.
At Stratford, the latest tranche of homes at Chobham Manor, one of the new “neighbourhoods” being built on the former Olympic Park, has just gone on sale, priced from £460,000 for a one-bedroom home. See chobhammanor.co.uk.
Chobham Manor’s big selling point is open space. It is beside the Lee Valley VeloPark and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and of course there are endless shops at Westfield and around Stratford station, where Crossrail services launch next year.
From £345,000: one-bedroom flats at Banbury Park, right, Walthamstow E17. Two-bedroom flats start at £450,000 (0845 223 0000)
Chobham Manor E20, above: one-bedroom flats from £460k; three-bedroom maisonettes from £745k (020 3435 9269)
From £450,000: one-bedroom apartments at The Walworth Collection, right
From £360,000: onebedroom flats at Anthology Deptford Foundry, above, where Lissie Green, left, is buying her first home. Lissie, 28, who works in advertising, fell for the area’s culture, vibrancy and “heart”. She moves in next year and her commute should be a breeze, with a 10minute walk to New Cross or Deptford High Street stations, and a six-minute train to London Bridge.
From £495,000: two-bedroom flats at Merchants Walk in E3 (020 3369 8670)
From £480,000: one-bedroom flats at The Tribeca, SE22