Focus On Peckham: How it went from Only Fools fame to be the first time buyer capital of London

Melissa York
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Frank's bar on top of a car park in Peckham

Whatever you think about 2016, it’s been a billboard year for Peckham.

Two large houses near Peckham Rye station sold £2.5m this year, a record price for the area, firmly cementing SE15’s fast-growing reputation as a desirable place to live.

It’s not bad for an area that is embedded in the national psyche as the home of get-rich-quick merchants Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses. Yet, perceptions of the local property market have come a long way since Nelson Mandela House.

In the roaring ‘20s, Rye Lane was home to more department stores than anywhere else south of the river with household names like Marks & Spencer, C&A, British Home Stores and Woolworths all building their early premises on the street.

These days, it’s all about Bellenden Road, where you’re likely to see young, media types sipping on a craft beer at the Peckham Pelican, attending the literary festival at Review Bookshop and browsing for vintage couture at Threads.

It’s also a great place for word-of-mouth, family-run restaurants. “The increase in interest in the area has led to more and more new restaurants and eateries such as Banh Banh, a family-run Vietnamese and Ganapati, which won the OpenTable Diner’s Choice 2016 Award and serves up delicious south Indian cuisine,” says Nick Stops, sales manager at Foxtons Peckham.

“Four in ten homes are sold to a first time buyer today, more than anywhere else in London”

But what’s the main driver of this renewed interest? The obvious answer is London’s overheating housing market, pushing younger people in the creative industries to explore other areas but agents play up the area’s relatively newfound connectivity.

“There has been a new swathe of buyers flocking to Peckham since the opening of the Overground Line from Peckham Rye in 2009,” says Jamie Burnhope, a property buying consultant at Black Brick, “and these are generally young families from Brixton or east London, looking for better value for money.”

Peckham Library

It’s also become the city’s first-time buyer capital, according to David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International. An impressive 42 per cent of buyers in the Peckham market are buying their first property. Near desirable Bellenden Road and Peckham Rye station, they can expect to pay between £350,000 and £500,000, but eagle-eyed househunters can pick up an ex-council flat for around £250,000.

“People buying here seem to feel assured that the area is going from good to better and it’s a safe place to put your pennies.”

“Four in ten homes are sold to a first time buyer today, more than anywhere else in London,” says Fell. “An abundance of flats above shops and ex-local authority homes offer a relatively affordable way onto the capital’s housing ladder. To the south of the railway, pricier three and four bed brick terraces are sought after by second steppers and give Peckham its staying power.”

For those looking to invest, new developments include Crest Nicholson’s Wood’s Road, near Queens Road station, where flats are going for £455,000 and Fraser & Co’s Catcher Building on Rye Lane, with flats from £308,000.

And there’s lots of new infrastructure to come with regeneration plans being discussed for Peckham Rye station, the return of Peckham Lido and even a New York High Line-style park along the old Peckham Coal Line.

“Local residents are very much connected to their landscape and seem keen to invest in it,” says Becky Munday, managing director of local estate agency Munday’s. “People buying here seem to feel assured that the area is going from good to better and it’s a safe place to put your pennies.”

Old Spike Roastery coffee

Area highlights

You can have an awful lot of fun in Peckham, but it’s never a bad idea to start your night at Bar Story underneath Peckham Rye station. Think cocktails, pizzas, DJs and more industrial decor than you can shake a lead pipe at. Saved from demolition in 2007, the Bussey Building is a multi-storey concrete monolith-turned-arts venue during the day and warehouse-style club at night. For a no frills night at the flicks, try Peckhamplex, as it’s known in local parlance, where you can see a movie for a fiver like it’s the 1990s. Peckham has had a thriving arts scene for years and local artist Hannah Barry curates some of the best exhibitions around next door to the Bussey Building. Review bookshop on Bellenden Road is an independent gem that hosts the Peckham Literary Festival every year and the Old Spike Roastery is a particular charmer on Peckham Rye that offers job training for the homeless.

Area Guide

House prices Source: Zoopla





Transport Source: TfL

Time to Canary Wharf: 18 mins

Time to Liverpool Street: 33 mins

Nearest train station: Peckham Rye

Best roads Source: Hamptons International

Most Expensive: Holly Grove: £1,053,214

Best Value: Granville Square: £211,932

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