Investment 'A Dirty Word?'


Whether you’re buying your first home, upgrading to a family sized property, or downgrading after the kids have left in order to free up some capital and maybe take that trip you’ve been planning, there really is no shame in wanting your property to appreciate in value.

For some people, especially those who have bought in London, discussing how much capital they have made on a property is a favourite topic of conversation, and why not. A recent report from Halifax and Nationwide put annual house price inflation at 8.7 per cent and 9.5 per cent, while a recent article from the Guardian featured buyers discussing their property windfalls.

One family from Ealing, for example, bought a house in 2009 for £455,000, then spent £90,000 converting the loft and extending the kitchen, then sold within two days of being on the market in 2013, for £725,000. Which is a decent return by anyone’s calculation.

This is a trend that isn’t going to go away any time soon, with prices tipped to rise by 35% by 2020, where are the best places to invest your money in London? Where you can you build a life and make home, while knowing all the time that every improvement you make will only add to the pot should you find your self wanting to move again or relocate out of London. After covering Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Fulham, Peckham and Hackney in the last issue of Brik, here are more intriguing locations in the capital to consider.→

Dalston / Kingsland
£300k - £1.2m

If you can ignore the stigmatism around hipsters, Dalston and the surrounding areas directly off Kingsland road leading up towards Stoke Newington in North East London are really excellent places to consider buying. The influx of bright young things to the area is largely confined to the pubs, clubs and bars of Kingsland road, but wonder off the strip and you’ll soon find yourself in a world of leafy tree lined streets and vast Victorian townhouses.
A one bed flat on the rather beautiful Amhurst road will set you back something in the region of £300,000 upwards for a property with a blank canvas, modern finish. And you’ll be looking at around the £1.2 million mark for a large (four bed +) semi-detached on Malvern road, which is equidistant between Kingsland Road, London Fields, and Haggerston station, which means you’re incredibly well serviced by the Overground service, and could walk to Liverpool Street station in 10-15 minutes.

For those with the patience and time, you would likely pick up a comparatively cheap property that’s in need of a bit of TLC if you venture closer to Hackney Central. But in short, the transient nature of the young community in the area means that at the moment there are plenty of properties available, but they will start to go soon.

£540k - £1.2m

Not just the home of tourists on Jack the Ripper tours, bustling street markets, cutting edge galleries (including the excellent, if unimaginatively named Whitechapel Gallery), and top artists (Tracy Emin, Dinos Chapman and Gilbert and George all have studios in the area), Whitechapel is now one of the most exciting and appealing places to buy a home in the capital.

“It is crowded, and chaotic, but in that brilliant and vibrant way that London can be.”

So it definitely won’t be to everyone’s tastes. But for those wanting to make a home in the heart of the action, there is a wonderful selection of properties available: beautiful early 17th-century terrace houses run off of quiet early Victorian Squares, while warehouse conversions sit next to new flats.

This range of properties is reflected in the price, where those with the cash can buy a 3-bed new build penthouse close to Aldgate East tube station for £1,360 a square foot, while those with a more modest budget can get a rock-solid, and generously appointed ‘right-to-buy’ flat in the one of the large 1950s social housing complexes.

Location wise, you can walk to the city, and Aldgate East and Whitechapel are on the District and Hammersmith and City Tube lines. But most intriguingly, Whitechapel will be on the Crossrail, which will further ensure your investment pays dividends.

£370k - £800k

If Whitechapel and Dalston seem a little too bustling and urban for your tastes, then Streatham could be the location you’ve been looking for. It’s an area that’s brimming with potential, and boasts a die hard fan base who will not only boast about how nice a place it is to call home, but are actively trying to improve it all the time.

When you arrive, you’ll likely find yourself on the A23, a bustling artery that cuts through the area and is known for its congestion. But please don’t let that put you off, because stroll down any side street and you’ll find yourself on quiet terraced streets with a range of properties, many of which feature that rarest of gems in London – decent outdoor space.

Most interestingly, last year residents carried out a successful campaign to persuade Lambeth council to grant the roads south of Streatham Common a conservation area status, because of the areas interesting and beautiful mixture of Edwardian Arts and Crafts houses and 1920s terraces.

Streatham is penned in by green spaces, too, with Streatham Common sitting at the southern tip, while Tooting Bec common sits at the western edge, which, to use estate agent speak ‘boasts’ Tooting Lido, the biggest and most popular swimming pool in the UK.
Some of the best houses can be found on Garrad’s Road, overlooking Tooting Bec Common, and the roads off it, Woodbourne and Becmead avenues and Abbotswood, while up and coming areas include the ‘ABC roads’, Amesbury, Barcombe and Cricklade avenues off Streatham Hill.

Average house prices in the area range from around £370,000 for a flat, going up to around £800,000 for a large house, and there’s a 62% bias towards flats in the area, meaning houses, while not thin on the ground, are definitely in a more competitive market.

Elephant and Castle
£380k - £740k

Most Londoners have long been under the impression that Elephant and Castle is nothing more than a big roundabout with a shopping center attached to it that, something to pass through when travelling on the Northern Line.→

‘Elephant Park’ will be luxury flats just a few hundred meters away from Elephant & Castle station.

But a huge new regeneration scheme, which is expected to be completed by 2020, will turn this often overlooked area in to one of the most exciting and appealing areas in London.

“By 2020, Elephant and Castle will be one of the most exciting and appealing areas in London.”

The scheme includes more than 4,000 new homes, a market square, and a vast park built on site of the sprawling, notorious Heygate Estate. The scheme also includes the development of many of the roads in the area that will ease congestion significantly. There is a huge range of properties from apartments in new build towers, and higher end apartments in complexes such as the Printworks on Amelia Street, some of which will enjoy views of Parliament.
All of which means that prices are rising in Elephant and Castle, but it’s still easily the cheapest location in Zone 1, with the average property prices floating around the £500,000 mark.

The nature of the area means that the properties are almost exclusively flats, and finding a garden would be a small miracle, so it’s not really the place for anyone looking to start a family. But for first time buyers or couples, it’s an exciting and vibrant location with great connections.

Don’t be put off by the still tatty nature of the area. The main strip on Walworth road might not be the most appealing of places, but make no mistake, Elephant and Castle is undergoing one of the most exciting makeovers in the capital. The potential for investment is huge. Watch this space.

*All data from Zoopla and the Land Registry