I can't afford to live in a good part of London

redevelopment plans catford

So, you canít afford East Dulwich. Thatís not big news, a lot of people canít. With the vast escalation of Londonís housing market comes market exclusivity. Be thankful. Do you really want to pay a price you canít afford and play catch-up via a hefty, dare we say maverick mortgage, for the sake of Ďbeing in the right area?í

Wannabe Clapham-ites flocked to East Dulwich twenty years ago. Buyers moved to SE22 because they couldnít afford its better-appointed neighbour. Forty years ago Greenwich was considered a backwater by inner-city workers but for the last 20 years, has been one of the most desirable areas in south east London. Todayís warty manors are obvious even to their own residents ó Catford and Queenís Road, Peckham are routinely associated with alloy wheels, drug dealers and burglar alarms.

Neglected areas provide plentiful choice and a better investment - particularly those surrounded by fashionable ones, with good transport links in place (or plans to add them), a fair choice of period housing stock and plans for regeneration. For struggling buyers, the best advice we can give is to explore the area thoroughly for pretty pockets of streets, try to buy within reasonable distance to a station and just outside an already established area. Go online and find out exactly how bad things are using crime figures provided by the Metropolitan police. (Tip: search for an area in the box and zoom in/out or scroll across to compare against other areas.) Educate yourself on town redevelopment plans and funding via the associated council.

Catford is a good bet because...
Regeneration plans are under way with around £2-million already pledged and some pretty cool town designs being mapped out. Catford Bridge and Catford stations are in dire need of an uplift but offer two lines into London and youíre not far from DLR trains at Lewisham. There are many lovely tree-lined streets to be had, head for Catford's conservation area and the Corbett Estate as both offer larger-than-average Edwardian and Victorian homes. Catford has a high crime rate in the town centre (Rushey Green) but an average one in the rest of the area. We believe that the redevelopment of the town centre will impact the crime rate positively as hoped by the town planners.

Be quick in Queen's Road
This part of Peckham is the last bit to improve, so therefore represents the best value. The cost to you is ticking away fast though as plans to improve the station here and down the road at Peckham Rye are well under way.

At Queen's Road, fresh business units, a public plaza, improved entrance and lighting make for a safer, more pleasant environment. Falling within Zone 2, trains are a dream into town: London Bridge is 2-stops, the East London Line links to the East End, Clapham Junction and Highbury & Islington.

Once this part of Pecks was a gateway to the hellishly infamous Aylesbury/North Peckham Estate, nationally known for its crack dens, violent crime and heartless housing. But North Peckham Estate is being ripped down and replaced with well-designed new homes thanks to L&Q Housing Association. Phrase 1a of the project was dubbed the "Best New Place to Live" at the 2013 London Planning Awards.

Up the road the Heygate Estate is being demolished, a shiny new transport hub being built and an oversized pedestrian square will be added alongside new homes, offices and shops during the regeneration of Elephant & Castle. As these down-and-out neighbourhoods improve, realise that there are plenty within range that already happened: central Peckham is so hip it hurts, oh-so-posh Peckham Rye, Telegraph Hill and Bellenden Road are all walkable while apsirarational East Dulwich, Camberwell, Greenwich and Blackheath are minutes by car/bus/train. Even though crime rates are currently high in Queen's Road, today they are average throughout the rest of Peckham. Just a couple of years ago crime rates were very high along Rye Lane, in central Peckham AND across North Peckham. Since then, improvements have been and continue to be made, to these immediate areas' housing and recreational amenities.