Published: 12/12/2012 By Jane RobathanRecently a journalist asked for some help with an Evening Standard piece about Nunhead becoming a property hotspot.
It's fair to say Nunhead has been on the up for a while. Historically one of London’s most deprived areas, Nunhead has a higher than average proportion of social tenants, lone parents and out of work residents. It also has the lowest life expectancy of all London areas as reported earlier this year.
A regeneration budget and timely transport improvements have made every difference. Nunhead is now catching up with its posher big brothers, namely East Dulwich, Telegraph Hill and Peckham Rye.
Nunhead station is in Zone 2, parents have championed Ivydale Primary School for years and you can walk across beautiful Peckham Rye Park to enjoy the salubrious strongholds that East Dulwich and Bellenden Road have become. In the opposite direction, Telegraph Hill is another long-standing upper-class neighbourhood within walking distance.
The redevelopment of Nunhead Green, grants that improved existing shop fronts and the London Overground extension at Queen's Road have all played major parts in the area's transformation. As property remains cheaper here, lower rents have enticed interesting independent businesses while residential homes have been luring buyers squeezed out of expensive East Dulwich and pricey Peckham.
By comparing historical sales data, we can find out how much square footage has risen in price in the area. At the very peak of this years' property mini-boom, a Nunhead home could sell for just over £600 per square foot—an extraordinary leap from the area's previous average of around £450. This means that at their height, Nunhead prices were levelling with prices in East Dulwich.
Of course, there's movement in figures. The most expensive homes are those in the most demand; they’re in the best condition and on the most desirable streets. Yet, earlier this year, reasonably nice two-bedroom flats were flying off the shelves at over £500 per square foot.
The most in-demand properties are three/four-bed terraces and two-bedroom garden flats. These homes sell like hot cakes if they're pretty, cared for and close to a station or a good school. In tougher markets, like the one we've entered now, you'll struggle to sell at all if you apply such mini-boom price hikes. The business of selling houses is entirely market driven—you can only achieve the price somebody wants to pay for a home. Remember too that unless your buyer has the cash to buy outright, a mortgage surveyor will need to sign-off the agreed price.
Clearly the area was begging for a lift, let's hope Nunhead's residents feel the positives and gentrification doesn't flush out Nunhead’s heart. Seeing as community engagement is particularly strong and gathering momentum, I doubt Nunhead will lose its soul any time soon.
If you'd like to find out more about future plans for the area, see the Peckham and Nunhead Area Action Plan.