Croydon has been flexing its muscles in recent years. In 2015 it was named as one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in London, due in part, to start-ups being priced out of Old Street and the so-called ‘Silicon Roundabout’ area because of skyrocketing rents. So tech start-ups chose to head south, towards Lambeth, Canada Square and…Croydon.
Compared with central London, rents remain cheaper in Croydon. Yet the area has witnessed a lot of regeneration, with many more residential developments set to take shape. According to figures published by the Evening Standard, 6,300 new homes are to be built in 2017 and a further 8,200 in 2018. Many of these new homes will be available for purchase under the government’s Help to Buy Scheme. With first-time buyers flocking to the area, Croydon is seeing a surge in demand for property.
As London’s housing stock has become increasingly valuable, prices have risen across the board, but Croydon remained comparatively affordable. Londoners priced out of other parts of the capital, such as Tooting and Brixton, are looking around for an alternative where they can find good value in a location convenient for central London and the City. This, for many, is Croydon.
Croydon still offers better value for money than other parts of London, and yet it boasts good transport links, making it ideal for young professionals and working families with their daily commutes. It has a tram system, and is served by Thameslink, Southern, Gatwick Express and London Overground. From East Croydon train station it is only 14 minutes to London Bridge and 16 minutes to London Victoria.
Meanwhile, regeneration and redevelopment is continuing. Plans are in place for a £1.4 billion Westfield/Hammerson ‘super mall’ development which, once opened, will create many new jobs. An IMAX cinema is also on the cards, three floors of shops and hundreds of new homes.
Heavily bombed during the war, much of Croydon’s old architecture was destroyed. This led to the construction of many concrete tower blocks. Thus, Croydon gained a reputation for being a concrete jungle. But the face of Croydon is changing. A £5.25bn regeneration project is in place to boost the local economy and infrastructure, businesses are moving to the area, it is attracting tech companies and startups, and further investments are being made to create a culturally-rich Croydon.
So where does all this leave someone who owns a property in Croydon?
To rent or to sell? With a lot of young professionals heading to Croydon, we predict an increase in demand for rental properties. If you own a property in Croydon, at this stage, it makes more sense to sit on that investment and rent it out, especially given the increasing demand for rental properties in the area.
Uncertainty in the sales market has led many vendors to choose to let their property rather than sell it until there is more clarity about property pricing trends in the future.
For property investors, Croydon is one of London’s most attractive prospects. It is a growth centre, it is well-connected to central London, and money is being spent to rejuvenate the high streets. Croydon is therefore a good place in which to invest in buy-to-let property.
Croydon is still developing, however, so for anyone with a property in the area, it may be advisable to rent it out now, and sell later.