If you have an SW postcode, think of yourself as one of the lucky ones.
The average home in south west London now costs over £1m and it’s long been home to some of the most expensive streets in the country. But there is a way to live in an SW postcode without being a millionaire. Just move to Streatham.
“The average SW16 home costs less than £500,000 and is the cheapest place to buy into a South West London postcode by some £50,000,” says David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International estate agency. “That price advantage means that Streatham is one of the few parts of South West London where prices are still rising.”
And they’re rising rapidly, too. According to Hamptons’ data, assembled with figures from the Land Registry, house prices have grown by 8.7 per cent year-on-year, a whole five per cent higher than the London average. Still, it’s historically much cheaper than its gentrified neighbours, namely Brixton, Balham and Clapham. Most agents seem to quote £300,000 for a one bedroom flat, £400,000 for a two bedroom and upwards of £700,000 for a family house.
But are prices catching up? Hamptons data says 36 homes sold for £1m or more last year, yet the price barrier hasn’t been broken for five years – the most expensive property ever to be sold is still a detached house on Garrads Road, which went for £2.25m in 2013.
Some put this increase in million-plus homes down to more families upsizing and choosing to move within school catchment areas. “Many of the schools have dramatically improved their Ofsted reports with schools such as Dunraven, Hitherfield and Henry Cavendish all achieving either good or outstanding ratings,” says Robert Cornthwaite, sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward in Streatham.
Yet another agent, Gary Howorth, operations director at Foxtons’ Streatham office, says the area “has always been popular with families” and puts rising property prices in recent years down to more professionals and first-time buyers using the area to get onto the property ladder.
Streatham Hill, in particular, “continues to be a big pull for many buyers. There are a number of roads with rows of large, beautiful period houses, which are great for families and many have been turned into flats, ideal for first time buyers.”
The high street statistics bear this out. Though Streatham High Road has an average amount of independent retailers, it’s seen nine new cafes/coffee shops open up in the last four years and four new estate agent offices, all generally healthy signs of an up-and-coming area.
Though only seven per cent of sales last year were new builds, there have been notable office-to-resi conversions on the High Road. The two biggest projects to date have been The Hub, including the redevelopment of Streatham Leisure Centre and a new Tesco, and London Square at Streatham Hill, which is still being built but is set to include an M&S Food Hall. And there’s more to come.
Despite being home to the most railway stations within a London postcode, it could be getting a Crossrail Two link. “With neighbouring Balham divided, Streatham has launched an audacious bid to lure London’s new north-south rail link a mile south eastwards,” adds Hamptons analyst Fell.
Housing is always a bit pricier around Streatham Common, which is something of a local treasure. Designated a Local Nature Reserve, it’s home to the largest areas of acid grassland and woodland in Lambeth. Work on a new playground has started and finishes in mid-December, but the park already plays host to a number of events throughout the year, including the Streatham Common Kite Day in May (pictured above). In a quiet mews just behind the High Road sits the Hideaway club, a live music venue for jazz, soul and funk, with stand up comedy and special live performances on Sundays. For your daily bread, head to sourdough specialist Elephant Bakehouse, which also does a fine line in cinnamon buns and has a Bread Club that delivers freshly baked loaves to the local area. For a local boozer, look no further than Pratts and Payne on Streatham High Road, named after the now defunct art deco department store it’s situated in. It’s retro, quirky and has a great quiz.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 40 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 48 mins
Best roads Source Hamptons International
Most Expensive: Woodbourne Ave: £1,081,247
Best Value: Mountearl Gdns: £276,635
Nearest train station: Streatham