South London’s soaring enclave
“It’s a combination of great schools, plenty of green spaces, strict management by the landowner, the Dulwich Estate, and the fact that south-east London is still relatively good value compared with south-west London,” says Tom Bill of Knight Frank. He points to the popular private schools of Dulwich College, Alleyn’s and James Allen Girls, along with a good mix of state schools.
Well, maybe not quite so affordable now. According to the research the average sales price in the picket-fenced Village (SE21 7) is £1.75million; SE22 (East Dulwich) is a much larger area and so there is a higher turnover of homes, worth on average £614,000 to £693,000.
Twenty years ago the stock threebedroom Victorian terrace around Lordship Lane, East Dulwich’s high street, cost around £200,000. Now such homes are worth £1million to £1.25million, even considering a dip in recent months. In that time the Lane has evolved from being a lacklustre high street with the number of good restaurants you could count on one hand, into a version of Clapham’s Northcote Road, with its independent shops, organic food stores, gastropubs and, more recently, its own arthouse cinema, the Dulwich Picturehouse.
Broadchurch actress Olivia Coleman has said her best investment was a flat in East Dulwich that she sold on for a chunky profit before moving to a house in Peckham; other thespian locals include Iain Glen, James Nesbitt and Helen Lederer.
The changing demographic of the area has also led to an improvement in state primaries, such as Heber and Bessemer Grange. But for Suzie Godfrey, whose children Theo, nine, and Sophia, six, attend Bessemer, it was not just about the schools.
“My husband Alex and I moved from West Dulwich for more of a buzz,” says the 45-year-old, who runs her own chocolate brownie giftbox business, The Sweet Reason Company.
“We gravitated to East Dulwich to go out in the evening to the better restaurants and bars.
“Over the past few years there has been a noticeable influx of start-ups. There are many of us who are self-employed, as well as many young families. There’s a great community feel; I organise our two annual street parties.”
The Godfreys’ four-bedroom Victorian semi-detached house near East Dulwich station, which is just 12 minutes into London Bridge, cost £520,000 in 2009, but after two extensions is now worth £1.4million.
The most popular streets nearby include Elsie Road, and Melbourne, Chesterfield and Ashbourne Groves, according to Paul Bent of agent Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (KFH). “They are near the new charter school, the station and Lordship Lane,” he says. The agent has a fivebedroom house on Chesterfield Grove for sale for £1.275 million.
Typical buyers are split between families and young professionals, he adds. “Along with locals upsizing, there are first-time buyers looking for a two-bedroom garden flat for £500,000 to £550,000, or a one-bedroom flat for £400,000. We are seeing a new buyer profile from Islington and Crouch End, helped by the emergence of Peckham Rye as a ‘mini Shoreditch’ with its hipster cafés.”
For those not so driven by this trendy scene – or with deeper pockets – Dulwich Village is highly sought-after, with its quaint tollgate and small collection of businesses.
There’s Gail’s Bakery, Fired Earth and the Crown & Greyhound Pub (“The Dog”), where Charles Dickens once drank, and the historic Dulwich Picture Gallery, although it’s crying out for a Waitrose (and you can forget any new-build developments, too). But Dulwich Park has a timeless charm, complete with boating lake and horses from the nearby riding school.
“The prime streets are Turney Road, Village Way, Burbage Road, Calton Avenue and the Village end of Court Lane, A Victorian five-bedroom home in Chesterfield Grove, near Lordship Lane. It has a big lawned garden with the option to extend the house at the back. £1.275 million This double-fronted, detached sevenbedroom house is in a popular road in Dulwich Village, in a catchment area for good schools. £2.75 million A five-bedroom house located near the shops and buzzy cafés of Lordship Lane. The living room-kitchen area has bifold doors that open on to the garden. £1.3 million that falls into the catchment area for schools,” says Mitchell Murphy of Knight Frank.
Your money can go further on the borders in both Peckham Rye and Nunhead Village but also West Dulwich, Honor Oak Park and Forest Hill, where you can get bigger houses and gardens for the same price as a skinny semi off Lordship Lane.
Suzie Godfrey runs a business from her East Dulwich home