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Peckham – the new East Dulwich?

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6th Oct 11 1:43 pm

Should you invest in Peckham property? Rebecca Hobson asks those in the know

The award-winning Peckham Library

The award-winning Peckham Library

Climb to the top of Peckham’s ten-storey car park and what do you find? A gang of youths sniffing glue? A hoody vandalising a car? No. And you won’t find Del Boy, either.

Walk out onto level 10 and you’ll discover Frank’s Café and Campari Bar, serving grilled quail and wild sea trout.

Try to forget the television footage of the August riots – because Peckham, Rodders, has changed.

The Georgian and Victorian homes on Bellenden Road, once shabby houses in a no-go area, now fetch £1m and more. Peckham is so “in” that The Telegraph’s fashion editor Hilary Alexander lives there.

Then there’s the art scene. The area sandwiched between Camberwell College of Arts and Goldsmiths University teems with art students and successful artists. British sculptor Anthony Gormley calls Peckham home.

SE15 is not much up-and-coming. It has arrived. But are there still growth opportunities for those wishing to invest in Peckham property?

Peckham sunset

Source: Steve Wilde

New dawn

Yes, says local estate agent Keeley Clarke – adding that the area’s “investment window” is still open, but only just. The last decade has seen parts of the area undergo a transformation. The notorious housing estate where Damilola Taylor tragically lost his life has been razed to the ground as part of Southwark Council’s regeneration efforts.

This, says Clarke, coupled with the right-to-buy scheme that’s spawned a new breed of homeowners, has given way to a new era for Peckham in which house prices in some areas have risen by 20 per cent in the last eight months.

Nigel Road, smack in Peckham’s centre, is an example: “Last Christmas, three-bed semis on Nigel Road were going for about £450,000-520,000. Last month we sold one for £615,000,” says Clarke.

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But Peckham’s transformation isn’t complete. For starters there’s its reputation; it will take a new generation not raised on a diet of Only Fools and Horses to fully appreciate the area in its new middle-class light.

Southwark councillor for nine years Fiona Colley admits there’s still “grotty” areas, but believes its image has changed nonetheless.

“We’ve gone back to having family housing and blocks which are a mix of social housing, shared ownership and privately owned properties. There’s no more ghettos.”

She also points to the overflow from more affluent neighbouring areas: “The really nice Victorian houses have been attracting younger families as areas like East Dulwich and Clapham have become too expensive.”

Colley is the Southwark Council cabinet member for regeneration and says the body has big plans to tackle the remaining “grotty” spots such the unsightly shopping mall that “hides” Peckham Rye Station. The project, called Peckham Rye Station Square, plans to create a new plaza around the station with hopes to boost the nightlife economy  – something Colley feels is still missing from Peckham despite everything.

Investment opportunities

So Peckham’s rehabilitation is far from complete, and this is where the golden investment opportunities come in – particularly in North Peckham, which has yet to see gentrification.

“The north side, north of Queens Road, is where I’d be buying. It can’t remain that cheap with everything that’s been done around it,” says Clarke.

She cites a residential area near Queens Road Station where properties are selling for £250,000. Those same houses in Peckham Rye, she says, sell for £650,000.

And don’t be put off by what might seem like too much of the old Peckham: Queens Road is changing. The new shop fronts recently put on the fish and chip shop and the barber’s – seemingly insignificant factors – can mark significant changes to an area, she says.

Just off Queens Road, across the North Peckham border, is Kings Grove, which now boasts an art gallery and brand-new trendy café.

For buy-to-let landlords, Peckham is becoming invaluable to their portfolios. Cheap properties in a trendy area equals rent yields as high as 10-12 per cent – well above the London average. An investor can buy a rundown two-bed ex council flat for £150,000, do a little work on it, then rent it for £1000 a month, says Clarke. “A seven-eight per cent yield is easy.”

Keeley Clarke’s up and coming areas to invest in Peckham

North Peckham- Near Queens Road Station Nunhead (cheaper side not directly next to Peckham Rye)
Kincaid Road Hollydale Road
Pennethorne Road Lanvanor Road
Geldart Road Brayards Road
Astbury Road Lugard  road
Dayton Grove Kirkwood Road

Keeley Clarke is assistant manager at Acorn Estate Agents

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