The borough of Southwark in Southeast London is an area with a rising population yet a huge undersupply of housing. According to the Greater London Authority (GLA), the borough will be home to 167,000 households by 2037, up from 123,000 in 2012.
To meet this projected demand, Southwark is in need of 1,650 new homes each year, but in 2014, only 790 new homes were provided, followed by 1,200 in 2015, meaning there is still a significant shortfall in the area. In fact, Southeast London is one of the areas of the capital with the largest disparity between demand and supply, so much so that asking prices rose by 20% between December 2014 and December 2015. In the same period the number of properties on the market fell by 11%.
Camberwell, with its artistic roots, strong sense of community and proximity to central London, is the latest rising star of Southeast London, following in the footsteps of long-gentrified neighbours such as Clapham, Brixton and Stockwell. However, for the time being, Camberwell offers impressive value for a Zone 2 property, with an average house price of GBP510,454; much lower than the zone average of GBP723,000. It is also relatively inexpensive when compared to its neighbours Clapham (average price GBP791,169), Stockwell (GBP649,086) and Brixton (GBP520,998).
The area’s recent gentrification has included transformation of the areas around Camberwell Green and Camberwell Road, the ‘gastrofication’ of well-established pubs and bars, and the opening of boutiques and artisanal shops. Recent investment of GBP11 million saw upgrades to the landscaped gardens on the Green, a new public library, and a state-of-the-art leisure centre. 2015 also saw the opening of the GBP26 million Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute on the King’s College Hospital site. Still, the area retains a cool edge, with Georgian terraces, Victorian family houses and new-build developments punctuated by street murals and art galleries.
Thanks to the district’s recent regeneration, there has been an influx of new residents, with creative and tech professionals migrating from Shoreditch and Islington, where they have been priced out, seeking affordability. As a result the population is set to increase further – 15% by 2025 according to forecasts by Southwark Borough.
Rental income is promising in the area too, which is home to a number of universities as well as King’s College Hospital, all of which ensure steady rental demand, particularly from NHS trainees and workers from Kings College and Maudsley Hospitals. Southwark has already seen steady increases in rent in the five-year period to July 2015 for studios (57.4%), one-bed (39.7%), two-bed (35.9%), three-bed (43.5%) and four-bedroom (33.8%) properties. Home to one of the world’s leading arts institutions, Camberwell College of Arts, and South London Gallery, the area is also a hub for the art crowd and creative students too, with Goldsmiths University and a handful of art galleries also nearby.
The area of Camberwell holds much appeal for professionals thanks to its excellent transport links with Denmark Hill Train Station offering services into London Victoria (12 minutes), London Blackfriars (11 minutes) and King’s Cross (23 minutes). Nearby Oval underground station takes commuters to Bank (10 minutes), City Airport (38 minutes) and Heathrow (47 minutes).
The leafy, green environment, with its village feel, is in close proximity to King’s College and Camberwell College of Art, UAL, as well as London’s busiest Hospital, King’s College Hospital. Open spaces such as Ruskin Park, Burgess Park and Kenning Park are with reach, aside from Camberwell Green, appealing to families, and sports lovers will find themselves within a stone’s throw of the KIA Oval Cricket Ground.
With lots of room for growth and further regeneration, there’s plenty of potential for capital appreciation, as seen by the area’s recent performance. The current average property value is GBP510,912, which is a 9.54% increase in the last 12 months and up 45.72% over the past five years. Savills predicts house price increases in the borough of Southwark of 15% by 2020.
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