South east London's cheapest property hotspots

Three up-and-coming areas you shouldn't miss

Catford's catWarty manors or up-and-comers? If you don't have the budget for an upmarket neighbourhood or you'd rather make your money work harder, we can help you find an up-and-coming spot to call home.

Neglected areas provide plentiful choice and a better investment, particularly those surrounded by posher parts. If you stumble upon somewhere with a regeneration scheme on the horizon, good transport links in place (or plans to add them are definite), then bargains can be had.

Be quick in Queens Road, Peckham
Previously associated with alloy wheels, drug dealers and burglar alarms, Queens Road's rise in the property preferential charts is remarkable.

The regeneration of the station and central Peckham's continuing unfurling as an exceptionally hip destination, is treating us to modish cultural treats like Peckham Levels, the rediscovered Bussey Building, art shows, music events and flourishing food and drink venues. Instagram will show you just how good Forza Win, Peckham Springs and the now-famous Frank's Cafe are. Rooftops have become the new zone for fair weather yoga classes, film screenings and art exhibitions while events put on by Bold Tendencies, range from Multi-Story Orchestra concerts, to Soca Sundays to Afrobeat dance performances. Things couldn't be more edgy-cool.

Five-ten years ago, no-one asked us to find them somewhere in Queens Road, but we now get a steady stream of people choosing to take up residence there. Bargains are slimmer on the ground, but to be near the action and pay the least, look north of Queens Road or east of Consort Road for the cheapest property. You can walk to all the cool stuff, as well as shops (Superdrug, Boots, Holland & Barrett, Primark, Argos), supermarkets (Lidl and Morrison's) and even a Sunday morning farmers' market. Other nearby niceties are Peckham Plex (London's cheapest multi-screen cinema) and the leisure centre/swimming pool.

Catford is getting classy
Things are only going to get better in Catford. A master plan is being drawn up that will reinvent its town centre, replace brutal social housing, transform its two stations and switch its run-down shopping centre for leisure, community, retail and culture havens. Currently carving a traffic jam through Catford's heart, the South Circular will be rerouted to allow for more pedestrianisation and open spaces. It's not impossible that the new Bakerloo line extension will pass through here, this is under review. In other news, when Catford gets its refurb, its residents have petitioned to save the giant fibreglass cat clinging from the shopping centre entrance. To get a feel for Catford's community, check out this online forum or this blog.

This is an area rich in period pickings too; Catford has roads teaming with Victorian and Edwardian houses. Head for Culverly Green Conservation Area which is predominantly Edwardian with a sprinkling of Victorian villas in Canadian Avenue. The conservation area incorporates the Corbett Estate, a pocket of streets built by one of London's most prolific Victorian property developers, Archibald Corbett (he built seven in total). A philanthropist, he strove to design pioneering, healthy estates and was extremely successful. Homes on the Corbett Estate are Catford's best, and far cheaper than comparable digs in neighbouring Forest Hill. Lovers of nature can find cheaper homes around Blythe Hill or near the Ravensbourne River towards Ladywell, itself another up-and-comer.

Catford Broadway was recently tarted up to become more footfall-friendly. It's hard to miss Catford Broadway Theatre, a Deco masterpiece that runs successful theatre and hosts the entirely kitsch Little Nan's Catford Broadway Saloon. Other notable drinking venues include a growing mix of trendy hangouts. Catford Constitutional Club is a decaying beauty of a pub, Blythe Hill Tavern is one of the best old-fash boozers around while The Bottle Bar and Shop is all new and hip. Eat at Saigon Foods, Sapporo Ichiban, Deli Mavi and La Casa Veche while Saigon Streat pops-up in Catford and Hither Green. A very good delicatessens has arrived (Good Food), a bigger shopping list can be sorted at Tescos or Aldi and there's the excellent Catford Food Market.

You're future-proof in Lewisham
In the midst of a colossal transformation, Lewisham has already added hundreds of homes, made improvements to its shopping centre and built Glass Mill Leisure Centre (winner of 'Best Built Project - Community Scale' category of the 2012/13 London Planning Awards. Lewisham Gateway is a £375m project set to end in 2021 that includes the sold-out Renaissance apartments with their fancy eco credentials, private balconies and 24-hour concierge service. The once dire, gridlocked roundabout has been rejigged to give pedestrians easier access to transport and the town centre.

Still to come are restaurants, shops, bars, caEs, a town square and a landscaped park where the Ravensbourne and Quaggy rivers meet. Units are being designed specifically to encourage creative industries to take root here. Many more new homes are planned and the Heathside and Lethbridge Estate is being wholly regenerated.

With so much buzz about Lewisham's improvements, this is an area on the up. Transport links were always good: trains fly into London Bridge in 10-minutes, Cannon Street and Charing Cross in 18-19 minutes. DLR services run through Canary Wharf to end at Bank and buses run up to Paddington, Hoxton, Victoria and Stratford.

Schools are generally very good and there's a wide range of housing stock to suit most budgets. Lewisham's well-heeled past is evident in streets such as Granville Park, where leggy Victorian townhouses measure about 4000-square-feet. Lewisham Park is fringed by hefty, good-looking Edwardian semis while Belmont Conservation Area rubs up against oh-so-posh Blackheath. Families can still get a deal on the Ladywell side of things: Algernon, Ellerdale and Embleton or any school near Gordonbrook Road where the streets are pretty and the primary school is great. Houses surrounding Hilly Fields are not only incredible and face the park, they're a dead cert for the outstanding girls' school there. Try to buy as close as you can. Young things have plenty of choice near the stations and shops and can also claim flats in top streets-such is the mix of housing across Lewisham's centre (due to post-Blitz rebuilds). Buying towards any of Lewisham's village-like neighbours (Ladywell, Brockley and Hither Green) is definitely a good idea. Rub up against Catford or Deptford for bargains but if you can stretch to it, head for a home towards Blackheath —south east London's very own Hampstead. City workers and landlords are buying up the flash, new towering flats fast enough for it to be quite surprising. Give it a few years and as the centre is grows skywards, so will the property prices.