Home Life: Things can only get better

Will your area come up, or is it stuck fast at the bottom? Isabel Berwick investigates

FEW people want to buy a house, however cheap, in a run-down area with no decent shops. But few can afford to buy in the most fashionable areas. The happy compromise? Find the next hot area before all London joins the stampede.

Estate agent David Salvi, a partner at Clerkenwell's Hurford Salvi Carr, has seen EC1 change massively in the two years he's been trading. The area is the original "crunchy" success story (crunchy meaning an inner- city area on the verge of next-big-thingdom).

Clerkenwell was a run-down district (without a single estate agent) dominated by old commercial premises and local authority housing. Now many old buildings are loft conversions, St John Street has become an established "restaurant row" and Safeway is planning a new store. The residents can also walk to work in the West End or the City.

Mr Salvi advises anyone looking for the next Clerkenwell to search out an area that satisfies the basic needs of city dwellers. "Identify an area that is either centrally located or well-located for transport. There are areas which meet one or both of those needs but for whatever reason are out of fashion. It must be close to the commercial hub of the city centre. The further into the centre you get, the greater the opportunity of surviving without a car and living and working in the same area."

Estate agents suggest Camberwell, Walworth and Dalston as crunchy areas with potential. They are still cheap: you can buy a four-bedroomed, terraced house between Brixton and Camberwell, less than three miles from the Houses of Parliament, for pounds 160,000.

Newcomers to crunchy areas have to accept that this in-your-face urban living, with run-down shops and few pubs, cafes and restaurants where new residents would feel at home. (Not to mention a deserted, scary walk home from the bus stop). And there's no guarantee the area will ever make it.

But Andrew Frood, an architect who seeks out property across London for commercial and residential clients, is confident there is enough demand to force more crunchy areas to regenerate - whether or not we have another recession. "There are now plenty of people who are in 'middle youth' - hardworking professionals who are spurning traditional housing types and areas and opting for a more urban 'New York' lifestyle," he says. Mr Frood lives in Camberwell with his partner and their baby, and describes the mix of pubs, shops and restaurants on Coldharbour Lane as "like Clapham 10 years ago". The area has a Thameslink station at Loughborough junction with a frequent service to Blackfriars and King's Cross. Thameslink is one of the best-kept secrets in London and is to receive pounds 600 million to double the number of its. Many of the most-fancied crunchy areas are in Southwark, where the council is improving transport. The hottest tip of all is Borough, SE1. The best-known part of the area is Bankside, a short riverside walk from the South Bank complex. Bankside Power Station is home to the Tate Gallery of Modern Art, opening in 2000.The new Jubilee Line extension will pass through London Bridge station (already served by the Northern Line, Thameslink and trains to Kent). A new footbridge across the Thames will link Bankside with the City.

The surrounding area has been discovered, but property is still cheap and attracting young professionals who want lots of space for less cash. Lucy and Richard Townsend are moving from a two-bedroomed flat in Tooting to a pounds 170,000 "shell" in a listed Victorian warehouse in Borough. Lucy, says: "We wanted a place we could do up ourselves, but couldn't afford the prices in Clapham and Wandsworth. We were looking round SE1 out of interest. Then we found that when the Jubilee Line opens I can get to work in Docklands within 15 minutes and Richard can walk to work."

What happens if you just can't bear to walk on the wild side? There are still pockets of cheapness in gentrified areas. Jacob Papineau, estate agent, says: "Look at places near run-down secondary shopping streets with useful shops - junk shops, laundrettes, an old Greek taverna." If the area improves, your property will be in the desirable hub of local life. Mr Papineau lives near Abbeville Road in Clapham, which 10 years ago was a local shopping street. The launderette is now Seattle Coffee Company. And the taverna? A Cafe Rouge, of course.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Teaching Assistant

    £12024: Randstad Education Leeds: Teaching Assistant September 2014 start - te...

    Physics Teacher

    £130 - £162 per day + UPS: Randstad Education Hull: Physics Teacher Long Term ...

    IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

    Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

    £85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn