Property developers are constantly searching for the “next creative hub”, following those impoverished artists to underdeveloped places around London to find the smartest investment before the others do. South London has seen its fair share of this behaviour in recent years, with the meteoric rise of Brixton and Peckham as desirable, sociable places for young professionals to live.
Anthology, a new developer in the capital, is not alone in pinpointing Lewisham as the next hotspot to watch out for. It has not only chosen Deptford as the site for its newest homes and offices, but it’s also getting involved with its burgeoning arts scene, supporting the Deptford X festival and Deptford Stories, a series of installations and theatrical productions, at the end of the month.
“Lewisham is a thriving borough which has huge potential and is already attracting savvy young buyers, particularly in the media, technology and the arts,” says Mark Dickinson, Anthology’s managing director.
Grand regeneration plans are also in store for central Lewisham thanks to a multi-million pound council initiative called Lewisham Gateway. The masterplan aims to remove the roundabout opposite the railway station to allow easier pedestrian access to a revamped town centre. A completely new road layout and landscaped, riverside park named Confluence Place is also in the pipeline, promising new shops and up to 193 new homes in the centre of Lewisham. Construction began in May this year and the project will be completed in phases over six years.
House prices and rents have already enjoyed a boost in anticipation of Lewisham’s makeover, with estate agent JLL recording an average price increase of 25 per cent in the year to July 2014, compared to 19.3 per cent in London overall. “Lewisham is said to be the next area prime for investment. It’s fast attracting young professionals working in Canary Wharf and The City,” says associate director Graham Lawes. “As such, we have seen a large increase in rental prices in Lewisham over a short time frame, with one bedroom properties previously being let in modern developments for £925pcm, now being let for £1,200pcm. Tenants are looking for value for money, and Lewisham offers this against neighbouring areas with minimal stock levels and high rents.”