One might assume there is something in the water in Lewisham. Although it is a relatively unassuming corner of South East London, it has been the birthplace of a wealth of musical talent: Cream drummer Ginger Baker, Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and Sex Pistols frontman Sid Vicious were all born there.
The town’s own profile has historically been much lower than that of its famous children – but now that is starting to change.
“Over the last few years, Lewisham has experienced significant redevelopment with an improved restaurant and bar scene, better facilities and new homes,”says Frances Clacy, research analyst at Savills.
This includes the opening of Model Market, a late night street food venue in a former 1950s market run by Street Feast, who also operate Dinerama in Shoreditch; and Suttons’ Radio, a trendy pub in a former radio shop run by Antic who also operate Dogstar in Brixton and the Tooting Tram & Social.
Yasmin Forester of JLL in Greenwich says Lewisham has had a surge of popularity among young renters for this reason – as well as the fact rents are much cheaper than other, similarly well-connected young professional hotspots like Clapham.
“We are seeing our highest number of registrations for applicants wanting to move into the area”, Forester says. “It offers diversity and culture and is popular with younger tenants.” These renters are starting to translate into first-time buyers, too. According to Hamptons International, 44 per cent of homes in Lewisham were bought by a first-time buyer during the last 12 months.
House prices still cheaper than London average
“Over the last few years, many young professionals have set up home in Lewisham,” adds JLL’s Graham Lawes. Typical buyers have rented in South East London before they purchase, meaning Lewisham is known to them.”
It’s an area that seems to fit the lending criteria of the bank of Mum and Dad, too.
“It has become quite normal to have a gifted 25 per cent deposit from a Blackheath resident who is helping their son or daughter to purchase in nearby Lewisham,” Lawes adds. In addition, Lewisham buyers have been helped further by the fact that house prices are still cheaper than the London average.
According to Savills, the average terraced property costs around £585,000: up to 15 per cent cheaper than comparable homes in other London boroughs. Typical stock is varied, ranging from new-build blocks of flats like Peabody’s recently-launched Lucent Point to smart red-brick houses on desirable streets like Duncrevie Road.
“For those looking to buy their first property and for others trading up the ladder, Lewisham is a pretty attractive prospect thanks to its zone 2-3 rail and DLR links as well as its well-performing schools,” says Clacy. “Higher house price values in neighbouring places like Greenwich and Blackheath have drawn people to the neighbourhood, who by moving just a few miles south are likely to get more space for their budgets.”
House prices are rising rapidly, though. In the last year they have increased by 5.4 per cent compared to 0.2 per cent across the capital, and for the last five years that figure rises to 47.4 per cent compared to 19 per cent.
The continued investment into Lewisham means prices will continue to rise, according to Lawes.
“You can see the investment into the infrastructure and the careful planning in progress. This should translate into strong capital values down the line when there is more political stability and economic certainty,” he says.
Homes on the market in Lewisham this week
Lucent Point, from £97,500
At Peabody’s Lucent Point development, buyers can purchase a 30 per cent share of a one-bed apartment for £97,500.
Conington Road, £250,000
Located on the fifth floor, this studio apartment benefits from a concierge and on-site gym and is close to Elverson Road DLR.
Call JLL on 020 8858 9986
Eliot Park, £2.6m
This large detached home on a quiet street has nine bedrooms, four bathrooms, a landscaped garden and two terraces.
Call JLL on 020 8858 9986
Lewisham hasn’t historically been known for its buzzing social scene, but things are changing. Quirky pub company Antic opened Sutton’s Radio a couple of years ago, serving up beers, cocktails and tacos on Lewisham High Street. Model Market is a restored 1950s marketplace which houses DJs and late-night street food in the warmer months, while the Fox & Firkin is a friendly community boozer hosting regular live music nights covering everything from heavy metal to reggae. Sparrow is one of Lewisham’s most popular independent restaurants, specialising in small plates with a wide range of culinary influences from British and European to South East Asian. Bella Roma is the go-to neighbourhood Italian, where the pizza receives rave reviews, as does the cosy atmosphere. And if you want to cook your own Mediterranean delights, Antonio Deli – formerly known as Gennaro – is the place to pick up the freshest ingredients.
House prices (Source: Zoopla)
Most expensive road: Oakcroft Road, £1.64m
Average rent for a two-bed flat: £1,451 pcm
Transport (Source: TfL)
Time to Canary Wharf: 20 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 33 mins
Nearest rail station: Lewisham DLR