If you had to guess which spot in the UK had seen the biggest property price rises in the UK, the chances are you would guess somewhere in London. And you would be right. Despite a recent slowdown in the capital after almost a decade of runaway growth following a correction that followed a previous decade of the same, there are few to have bought property in London and not realised strong profits. That’s likely to prove to be the case again in the future as analysts predict growth to again be among the strongest in the country after a couple of years of pause.
However, there is far smaller chance you would guess the right region of London. It’s not prime central. Despite the stellar return on investment properties and homes acquired in the city’s most prestigious post codes over the past couple of decades, others have outperformed on a percentage return basis. And the UK’s best region for property returns also isn’t among the highest profile next rung of London’s desirable residential zones such as Clapham or Richmond. It isn’t even one of the more recent regeneration success stories such as previously clapped out Hackney or Olympic village Newham, stuffed to the brim with a new influx of hipsters and start-ups.
Ok, enough teasing. According to research carried out by property consultants Knight Frank, the UK’s best performing property regions over the 22 years between 1995 and 2017 was Dulwich. Average property prices in the south-east London area, most of which doesn’t even have convenient Tube access, are up 1150% over the research period. Over the same period, average London-wide gains were 698%, trailing Dulwich, which encompasses Dulwich Village, East Dulwich, the peripheries of Herne Hill, Camberwell and Peckham.
If Del Boy’s council estate high rise apartment in Peckham wouldn’t quite have realised the affable wheeler and dealer’s long held ambition of himself and brother Rodney achieving millionaire status, if he’d held on to it for another couple of decades it would certainly have put a serious dent in the job. 3-bedrrom Victorian terrace houses around East Dulwich high street have risen in value to currently change hands from between £1 million and £1.25 million.
So what’s been behind the under-the-radar but unstoppable rise of Dulwich property prices? Knight Frank’s Tom Bill puts it down to a combination of factors. Quoted in The Telegraph he lists them as:
“…great schools, plenty of green spaces, strict management by the landowner, the Dulwich Estate, and the fact that south-east London is still relatively good value compared with south-west London.”
Despite not being among the more well-known gentrified high-streets, East Dulwich is now a hub of bars selling gourmet burgers and avocado on toast and eggs benedict brunch cafes. There’s even the odd pricey cupcake and brownie bakery. Peckham Rye is being dubbed ‘mini Shoreditch’. Dulwich Village is the English equivalent of the white-picket fence suburban idyll.
Dulwich’s quiet success goes to show that landlords looking for investment properties would do well to do their own digging into the research property consultancies produce. It’s not always the regions that generate the most newspaper articles on price rises and gentrification that are the only, or even the best, spots to focus on.