Many London landlords want the holy grail of property investment, which is usually an emerging fashionable area where properties are below the capital’s average price to buy, but where rents are rising.
And Croydon is one of them. The town hit a low point in 2011 when riots blighted its reputation, but it’s since picked up as a raft of property, retail and foody investments have given it a much-needed shot in the arm.
This has included the expected arrival of Westfield shopping centre in 2023, the new Boxpark food hall near East Croydon station and a raft of newbuild residential developments.
The highest profile of these include the huge One Lansdowne mixed-use tower that will be one of Europe’s tallest once completed and the Newgate Tower at the junction of the A222 and A212 in northern Croydon.
But not all landlords want newbuilds and the high annual management fees that come with them, and one feature of Croydon’s property market is that, although there’s been a lot of focus on the shiny new central towers, the town has an unusually diverse property stock.
This includes flats within both the larger modern and period homes in the areas to the east of Croydon including Shirley Hills, and the copious number of flats available within the smaller terraced Victorian houses in restaurant-heavy South Croydon.
But central Croydon isn’t just retail and offices – there are plenty of 1990s and noughties-built apartments in developments within 10-15 minutes’ walk of the centre.
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Croydon’s ace in the pack is the town’s excellent transport links, which are arguably the best in London. As well as frequent trains into both London Bridge and Victoria, its tram system links it to Wimbledon in the west and New Addington/Beckenham Junction in the east and makes getting to most places in south London a doddle.
Croydon has become a focus for young renters looking for value for money. Rents in other more fashionable parts of south London nearer to the centre of the capital such as Clapham, Crystal Palace and Peckham are at least 20% more expensive than Croydon.
The Evening Standard described the town as a “no-brainer for renters on a budget” and lender Landbay said it was the 4th most affordable in London at an average rent of £1,100 per calendar month, per property.
But increasing demand from tenants for the town’s apartments is pushing up rents, which are now rapidly catching up with other parts of south London. Lettings company Homelet has revealed that rents are rising by a staggering 12.3% a year in Croydon, making it the second hottest market for landlords right now.