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Regeneration is taking off in the Olympic quarters

STRATFORD has long been one of those London areas that is supposedly on the verge of gentrification. The coming of the DLR, then the Jubilee Line, were meant to turn it into an up-and-coming area attractive to thrusting young professionals. It never quite happened. But last week, two things took place which mean that Stratford might soon start living up to its potential.<br /><br />Firstly, there was the inaugural trip of the new, 140mph Javelin train which, when it starts running in December, will cut the journey from St Pancras to Stratford to seven minutes. And secondly, developer Triathlon Homes announced that it will take over the athletes&rsquo; village after the 2012 Olympics, and will convert the development into 1,380 homes.<br /><br />Things are really starting to move in all the areas that will be affected by Olympic regeneration. In June, Barratt announced that it will transform an old Victorian hospital in E3 into a complex that will include residential and retail space, a gym and even a police station. The first residential development will be named Nexus, and flats will start at &pound;199,995. Two other major developments, Athena, a 28-storey tower, and the Edge, a swanky-looking development of 217 residential apartments, will be on the market in September or October, and completed next year. Flats at both developments will start at around &pound;250,000.<br /><br />This is just the first wave of Olympic regeneration. Developers have permission to build around 5,000 flats in the area, although the slow property market does mean that some of these have been put on the back burner. Indeed, only around 1,000 are so far under way.<br /><br />All of which might lead the canny property-hunter wonder if it is worth waiting until after 2012, when the Stratford Westfield Centre is open and the aftermath of the Games is clearer. But really, many of the things that make this area so attractive are already in place. For a start, the transport links are excellent. Stratford is on both the Central and the Jubilee lines, making it very easy to get to both the City and Canary Wharf. It is also on the DLR and if you change at nearby Canning Town, the journey time to London City Airport is very manageable indeed. It will also benefit from the East London Line extension and from Crossrail, when they open.<br /><br /><strong>YOUNG COUPLES</strong><br />First-time buyers or young couples looking to buy a flat, are already looking at the area. According to Bradley Martin, head of new homes in Knight Frank&rsquo;s Canary Wharf office, the market in the area has traditionally been &ldquo;investor-led&rdquo;, but things are changing. &ldquo;We are looking at a resurgence in interest from people looking for something for themselves,&rdquo; he says.<br /><br />And of course in the current climate, there are bargains to be had. &ldquo;The typical price is not as much as in more established areas that are very close by,&rdquo; says Martin. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had a period of relaxed prices but pundits are starting to say that they are reaching the bottom, so now could be a good time to start looking.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>NEXUS, BY BARRATT</strong><br /><strong>Price:</strong> from &pound;199,950<br />The Nexus building is the first part of the St Andrews development, which will have one, two and three-bedroom flats in buildings ranging in height from three to 27 storeys. It is a stone&rsquo;s-throw from the Devons Road DLR station.<br /><br />Call: 0845 871 0333.<br /><br /><strong>THE EDGE</strong><br /><strong>Price:</strong> expected to start at around &pound;250,000<br />A development of one, two and&nbsp;three bedroom apartments and two exclusive penthouses, The Edge is just a quarter of a mile from Stratford station. It is due to launch in September and will be completed in early 2010.<br /><br />For sales information contact: Knight Frank Tel: 020 7718 5223