Once a thriving naval port, North Greenwich has seen its ups and downs. As ships were replaced by trains and planes, it became a sterile stretch of land scattered with rusting gas cylinders.
But the millennium really did bring significant change for this forlorn flatland, including modern transport links and a landmark to call its own. Sure, the Millennium Dome – as it was – has had its ups and downs, but now it’s the 02 Arena and it attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Though it’s packed with bars and restaurants, it’s primarily one of the largest concert venues in the UK, flooding the place every weekend with Beliebers and Directioners. It’s hardly a local amenity; rather than the venue itself, the real investment came with the arrival of the Jubilee Line in 2000.
“But the line almost didn’t make it to North Greenwich,” notes David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International, “and it took local landowners to chip in for the station earmarked for Poplar to be moved over the river. Once finished, it was the largest on the line, designed to accommodate visitors to the Millennium Dome as well as 15,000 future residents.”
The Greenwich Peninsula Golf Driving Range
And 20 years later, the station is having to be extended again to squeeze in even more Londoners as 10,000 more flats than first envisaged will line the banks of the Thames by 2025.
Private developers have certainly bought into the area with gusto, and none more so than Knight Dragon, which is heading up the almighty Greenwich Peninsula project – seven new neighbourhoods and 15,720 new homes. Barratt London has Enderby Wharf, which is set to open London’s first international cruise liner terminal, dropping off up to 1,000 passengers a day from 2017, while its transport link means it’s proving popular with young professionals commuting to the City and Canary Wharf.
“Community feel isn’t common in areas where the majority of residents are busy professionals,” admits Foxtons’ Greenwich lettings manager Divyesh Bhanderi, “but Millennium Village (another new scheme by Countrywide and Taylor Wimpey) has an interesting modern take on it, with quite a few apartment blocks establishing community WhatsApp groups to keep in touch.”
Yet, it’s the highly priced, two to three bedroom homes that are proving the hardest to shift. Graham Lawes, director at JLL, puts this down to a wobble in job security in the financial services, but once we’re back on firmer footing, he fully expects demand to return.
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“Interestingly, although demand has waned for apartments, rents are at an all-time high for two and three bedroom units. It’s my prediction that these tenants will become our buyers for the immediate area once a degree of certainty returns. They will have already bought into the area and it’ll feel homely and familiar.”
For investors willing to pay now for a potentially handsome return later, two bedroom properties can be snapped up from between £450,000 and £600,000 and there’s no shortage of new builds, which tend to pull in higher figures. Hamptons International data says 75 per cent of sales in North Greenwich last year were new build flats.
For first time buyers, this means there are plenty of Help to Buy and Shared Ownership options, too. And while it’s still being formed there are thousands of homes to snap up that could prove to be goldmines in a few years. Lawes from JLL predicts that “as one tower completes, the values will leapfrog on the last.”
Tucking in at Craft London
Need to blow off some steam when you get in from work? Why not hit a series of golf balls in the general direction of your office in Canary Wharf at the Greenwich Peninsula Golf Driving Range? The 60-bay venue even has a restaurant and a coaching academy. Or drop by Craft London instead, a hip, three-storey restaurant run by food writer and chef Stevie Parle and decked out with interiors by Tom Dixon. It even does a “short” tasting menu for £35. NOW Gallery in Peninsula Square has a permanent free collection of contemporary art and design and invites creatives to come up with installations. If clubbing is more your thing, Studio 338 is an Ibiza-style electronica venue that boasts one of the largest terrace arenas in Europe. It was closed down after a fire broke out but it’s re-opening this June. For a quieter night in, The Pilot pub should do the trick and it was also featured in Blur’s Park Life video.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 2 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 23 mins
Nearest train station: North Greenwich
Best roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive: East Parkside: £740,000
Best Value: Banning Street: £285,650
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