AF­FORD­ABLE AU­TUMN HOMES

Young buy­ers who are keen on a price cut can make their home search eas­ier with ex­pert ad­vice from Ruth Bloom­field

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Front Page -

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

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