Focus On Croydon: Concrete jungle where first time buyer dreams are made of

 
Melissa York
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There was a time when Croydon was famous for three things; Kate Moss, trams and Mark and Jez’s dingy flat in Peep Show.

Thankfully, its reputation – and its housing stock – have improved since then and it’s now notable for a whole host of other reasons.

“In recent years, Croydon has seen a reversal of fortunes following two decades of decline,” says Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons International estate agents. “London’s rapid growth has pushed people and businesses outwards towards the capital’s biggest borough in search of more affordable homes and space. The rising number of technology start-ups taking advantage of cheap rents has seen Croydon dubbed south London’s Silicon Valley.”

But how cheap is it exactly? Croydon is London’s tenth cheapest borough, with 43 per cent of sales going to first time buyers, according to Hamptons’ data. This could be linked to the fact it has twice the amount of office-to-resi conversions than every inner London borough combined, meaning there’s a plentiful stock of new flats without the new build price tag.

Data from estate agent Savills reveals that people who have held on to their purchases for the last three years will have seen a 31.9 per cent increase in the value of their property.

“Croydon’s regeneration has made it one to watch in recent years,” says Frances Clacy, Savills research analyst. “Yet it’s an area which still represents good value – average sale prices sit at £360,000, more than 40 per cent lower than that of Greater London.”

The rising number of technology start-ups taking advantage of cheap rents has seen Croydon dubbed south London’s Silicon Valley

Croydon town centre is certainly changing rapidly, with a hipster-baiting Boxpark bringing a number of independent, trendsetting restaurants to the area for the first time. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan gave a new Westfield shopping complex the nod in January, which will also provide another catalyst for growth in the area, and it’s good for commuters, too. Though it’s in Zone 5, East Croydon station connects to two major hubs, London Bridge and Victoria.

Read more: Who's buying in Mayfair, the most expensive area in London?

New residential developments are almost too numerous to list, yet there have been some delays to completions. Charlie Dugdale, a residential development partner at Knight Frank, says this is down to “many reasons, but perhaps none more so that the council’s hard line on affordable policy. Investors have needed to take account of capped profits alongside unlimited downside potential.”

Three quarters of sales this year were either flats or Victorian terraces, typically found in the centre of town, while semis and detached houses are more likely to be picked up on the fringes. “While the average price for a detached home in London nudged past the £1m mark in the last year, a little over £700,000 bought the same housing type in Croydon,” Clacy from Savills adds.


Beers and table tennis at Matthews Yard

Area highlights

Boxpark started out in Shoreditch, the hipster’s fiefdom, and now it’s come to Croydon. Surrey Street Market in the town centre is one of the oldest markets in Britain and it’s open seven days a week. Matthews Yard is the first fully crowd-funded theatre in the UK, with a cafe bar and art gallery. Crystal Palace fans will find rare gems in the Museum of Croydon.

Area guide

House prices Source: Hamptons International

DETACHED
£726,430

SEMI
£489,500

TERRACED
£390,980

FLATS
£298,420

Transport Source: TfL

Time to Canary Wharf: 25 mins

Time to London Bridge: 24 mins

Nearest train station: East Croydon

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