And so it is in Lewisham, where new developments and major infrastructure investment have already made the surrounding areas of Deptford and New Cross appealing to first time buyers. But now it’s the turn of Catford, where the Borough Council’s offices are based.
While there’s no escaping the South Circular, half-hourly trains from Catford and Catford Bridge will get you to Kings Cross, Charing Cross and the City in under half an hour: a well-connected area in Zone Three.
True, it isn’t the prettiest – the Broadway could do with a facelift and the Catford Centre looks to be on borrowed time – but there are plans afoot to improve the area, which includes demolishing Milford Towers to build several hundred new homes in the town centre and major roadworks.
“The Blitz punched several large holes in he centre of Catford, which were predominantly filled in the 1960s by a number of Brutalist developments,” says David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International. But a number of these have been listed recently as attitudes towards the architecture has softened and the housing stock is larger than your average.
“Built by the Edwardians, homes tend to be larger than those of their Victorian predecessors. Roads to the south of the town centre still maintain some of their original rural character, with homes well set back from the street and lined with mature trees.”
Catford’s first £1m home was sold in August and last year saw SE6 outstrip the London average for house price growth, adding 3.5 per cent to its average property value of £381,230.
And this is set to continue if Graham Lawes, director at JLL, is to be believed. He says there’s ‘genuine hype’ around regeneration plans and its relative good value is helping. “Significantly cheaper (10-15 per cent) than similar properties in neighbouring Lewisham, my prediction for 2017 and beyond will be that we will see a spike in activity in the SE6 postcode.
“As first time buyers are disillusioned with choice and price in boom towns such as Lewisham, they will discover more competitive and affordable homes in neighbouring Catford, often offering larger accommodation and gardens.”
One of the UK’s biggest housebuilders Barratt has also put its stake in the area, building 450 new apartments on a 10.5 acre site next to the train stations. Speaking of trains, there’s talk of the Bakerloo line sticking its nose in, according to Foxtons’ Blackheath manager, Mark Ruffell, who adds that “investors are also showing interest.” There’s no doubt about it, Catford has purr-tential.
Catford has probably given rise to the well-known phrase “you’re never short of something to do when you live in Catford”. For pizzas from Italy, you can’t beat La Pizzeria Italiana on Brownhill Road, where fresh pies are handmade using authentic ingredients, and the occasional turn appears to serenade you as you down slices. The wonderful Good Food on Sandhurst Road is an organic deli that’ll do you a damn fine bag of lentils. The Grade II listed Broadway Theatre on Rushey Green is an enduring testament to art deco design, and today the 800-seater venue hosts diverse performances. For strolls and more, head to the nearby Ladywell Fields, a park that covers around 54 acres and recently saw huge improvements following a £2m investment from the London Development Agency. The Catford Constitutional Club, meanwhile, is the area’s top boozer, a traditional pub serving cask ales.
House prices Source: Zoopla (avg, paid)
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 40 mins
Time to London Bridge: 15 mins
Nearest train station: Catford Bridge