With Brixton located 2.7 miles (4.3 km) from Central London and its convenient transport links via the London Underground Victoria Line and Brixton Rail Station, it is a popular destination for both residents and visitors alike. It has often been seen as a more affordable alternative to South West London neighbours Clapham, Balham and Stockwell. However, with a desirable stock of period housing and trendy new build developments, combined with an ever-increasing demand from tenants and buyers, rental and capital values have increased significantly in recent years.
Research by Land Registry indicates that, since the bottom of the residential market in April 2009 to the peak in September 2016, average apartment prices in the London Borough of Lambeth have increased from £247,000 to £468,000 – a staggering 90% increase. This year, prices in excess of £850 per sq ft for period conversions have been recorded in the SW2 postcode.
Brixton’s unique history has helped shape the area both physically and socially. Having become a middle-class suburb between the 1860s and 1890s, large swathes of Victorian housing were built. During World War II, Brixton and the surrounding areas were heavily bombed resulting in a severe housing crisis, so a number of large council housing estates were built, some of which are still present.
Much of the character of Brixton stems from the influx of migrants from the West Indies in the 1940s and 1950s. Caribbean culture, music and food has helped to define Brixton as we know it today and is an important part of what makes the area so vibrant and eclectic.
Recently, there has been significant investment and development into community and cultural infrastructure, such as the Brixton Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), which will see about £2.6m of investment in historic buildings and the part they play in the local culture. The focus of this project will be Electric Avenue, running off Brixton High Street, which is said to be the first street in London to be lit by electricity.
Brixton clearly has a bright future. Its appeal remains its individuality and diversity, so it’s vital that investors and developers take this into account and are respectful of Brixton’s existing culture and community.
From a retail perspective, Pop Brixton is an example of disused land that has been cleverly transformed into a community of 53 independent businesses, from retailers and start-ups to restaurants and street food traders. Delivered by Make Shift with Lambeth Council, Pop Brixton is a temporary project that is currently due to remain until Autumn 2018, prior to the site being redeveloped.
Another draw has been the proliferation of the bustling Brixton Village and Market Row, which Allsop’s Valuation team values annually on behalf of the current owners and specialists in retail property, London & Associated Properties. Here, you can sample some of the most diverse and affordable range of international cuisines in London from independent traders, all set in two shopping arcades that were built in the 1920s and 1930s.
Developers are also capitalising on the significant potential of the area as an increasingly fashionable place to live and work. There are currently a number of sites under development, including the redevelopment of the 2.5-acre Town Hall site valued at £150m. A joint venture by Muse Developments and Lambeth Council, Your New Town Hall is a mixed-use regeneration scheme that will provide an enhanced and modernised Grade II listed Town Hall, new offices and meeting place for local enterprises, start-ups and community, along with 194 new homes. This 5-year project is expected to complete at the end of 2018, with the residential phase reaching completion during Summer 2018.
Unsurprisingly, development sites in Brixton attract significant interest from developers. For example, last year Allsop’s Residential Development team saw stiff competition for a vacant D1 health clinic on Railton Road. The property was marketed and sold with the benefit of outline planning consent for five, three-storey town houses. During the course of marketing, more than 300 parties registered interest. Unconditional offers in excess of £1,750,000 were invited, resulting in 16 detailed offers and a successful sale, highlighting the investment appeal of such sites.
Other notable sales that Allsop has handled in Brixton include the sale of 34 Acre Lane – a commercial property extending to approximately 530 sq m (5,700 sq ft). Prior to the sale by the Residential Auction team, a pre-application was submitted for the conversion of the building to provide seven self-contained flats and the retention of part ground floor retail. Whilst the property provided potential for conversion to residential, a guide price of £1,250,000 was set to generate interest, even without planning consent in place. And, generate interest it did – within two weeks of being on the market Allsop had arranged 40 viewings. Ten offers in excess of the guide price were received prior to the auction, but the lot was still offered in the auction room and sold under the hammer for £2,510,000 in early 2016. With at least ten bidders in the room and such a strong price achieved, this sale demonstrates the appetite for development opportunities in SW2.
Looking forward, Brixton clearly has a bright future. Its appeal remains its individuality and diversity, so it’s vital that investors and developers take this into account and are respectful of Brixton’s existing culture and community. With a steady supply of new build housing coming to the market, a healthy amount of investment and an exciting range of businesses setting up, the area will undoubtedly continue to thrive.
Notes to editor
William joined Allsop in 2010 after working at Cluttons for 4 years. William currently works in the Residential Valuation department providing valuations for loan security of high value individual houses and flats, portfolios (both tenanted and vacant), as well as residential and mixed-use development sites for both lenders and Housing Associations.
Clients include several banks, institutions, property companies, Housing Associations and developers.
Additional Roles include being a Supervisor for Graduates undertaking APC Assessments.
If you would like to get in touch with William, please contact him:
firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 7344 2624