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Where to buy a property in SE London for (potentially growing) family??

(12 Posts)
TTAJ Wed 05-Feb-14 13:28:08

Hi all,

Looking for some advice on where is best to buy in the SE area, currently living in Clapham just off Abbeville Rd, love the area and it ticks all the boxes but way out of our price range.

We are a couple with a 1yo daughter, both at work now, hard to say when we will have another child but its safe to say at some point we would love to.

We're petrified of moving somewhere too suburban and in an ideal life would love to find an area that has good sized properties, close to good schools with a good community feel but still with the amenities and easy transport into central London (we want it all!!)

Feel like we have a few sticking points - should we be looking for somewhere that captures good primary and secondary school's in one or think a bit more short term? Should we look for a property that fits our family size as it stands or plan further ahead? Compromise on ideal property for schools?

Any advice or experience welcome guys, we have circa 4-500k to purchase, I guess as a starting point we have tried to get a feel for Herne Hill/Brockley/Nunhead/Forest Hill/Dulwich/Hither Green but equally open to your steer on things!

Thanks guys

JassyRadlett Wed 05-Feb-14 13:37:47

Have you looked SW at all - such as Kingston/Surbiton? Great train links (16 minutes Surbiton - Waterloo), great community feeling, lovely restaurants and cafes, decent schools but not too 'Surrey'. Surbiton for choice - close to shops etc in Kingston but a bit separate.

Nancy66 Wed 05-Feb-14 14:04:15

why not stay SW? Streatham is fantastic. Prices going up quickly but still a LOT cheaper than Clapham, Balham, Wandsworth.

Dunraven school is excellent too

Millionprammiles Wed 05-Feb-14 15:01:37

It depends what you want to buy, eg 2/3 bed flat or 4 bed house?
Dulwich/Herne Hill and Surbiton/Kingston are lovely areas but �4-500k might not get you anywhere particularly big with a garden and near decent schools. Think about how much space (indoor and outdoor) you might need with two children (it's always more than you think!). Moving is expensive, you don't want to end up doing it again 2 or 3 yrs down the line.

School catchments and ratings can change quickly, suggest go for somewhere with good transport links, amenities, green space and a few primary schools in the vicinity as a starting point. Also perhaps think about nurseries in the area if you're intending to keep working.

Also, think about what you really need locally once you have a couple of kids. Will you be going out for dinner/to bars regularly or will it be child friendly cafes? Will you need a good range of local shops, including for kids stuff? Will you want off street parking so you don't have to park two streets away and work out the logistics of transporting a toddler, a baby and several bags of shopping to the house (I have a friend who had to do this regularly in Twickenham..)?

lessonsintightropes Wed 05-Feb-14 15:46:43

I could have written this myself! We are doing exactly the same and looking for a 3 bed house in the same areas. With our budget (exactly the same as yours) unfortunately it's very unlikely in Herne Hill, Forest Hill and Dulwich (even ex-local going for £600k). You are pushing it with West Norwood and Streatham but might find something which needs modernising. Good news is though you'll be able to find something nice in Crystal Palace/Sydenham/Penge/Anerley - CP is nicest in terms of facilities and neighbourhood but all are lovely areas with good schools and put you in chance of something period with a garden in that price range.

LondonGirl83 Wed 05-Feb-14 15:50:30

It depends on what you want to buy- house or flat. In Herne Hill and Dulwich that will get you a garden flat at most unfortunately. The areas are lovely though and the Charter is a great secondary school. There are lots of good state primaries in the area as well in addition to the famous private schools. Herne Hill has better links in to Central London but Dulwich has more interesting shops and restaurants (in my opionion) but I live in Dulwich so am biased! The green spaces in the Dulwich / Herne Hill area I think are some of the best in SE London. Dulwich Park is listed and has lovely ponds and playgrounds. Brockwell park is nice and has the Lido which is great in the summer. Dulwich and Sydenham woods are fund for running or a short family hike and Peckham Rye has a lovely common and a beautifully manicured park including a Japanese garden. Bel Air Park is also lovely and has decent tennis courts open to the public that are in much better condition that the ones in Dulwich Park. The other local amenities include the The Dulwich Picture gallery is a lovely museum, loads of cool pubs, shops and restaurants and a Picture House is looking to open up on Lordship Lane in the old church hall.

If choosing between Nunhead / Brockley and Forest Hill I would choose Forest Hill / Honor Oak. FH and Honor Oak seem to have more going on and are a little nicer in feel (just my opinion!). The primary schools in Forest Hill and Honor Oak are doing brilliantly as well. Fairlawn is outstanding and all of the SE23 schools seem to do very well. Regarding green spaces, the Horniman Museum and Gardens is lovely. You also have a local nature reserve and One Tree Hill among lots of other green spaces nearby. If you haven�t been to the Horniman its worth a trip so you can see the over-stuffed walrus�it�s a natural history museum.

Hither Green is supposed to be very up and coming. The Lee side is supposed to be nicer that the Catford side but you can probably get a house rather than a flat on the Catford side for 500k. Its meant to be a bit dull there but is very close to Blackheath which is lovely and has great transport links.

If you end up buying a flat, I wouldn�t worry about secondary schools but I would try to find a place you won�t outgrow for at least 5 years and that would accommodate your 2nd child (though kids don�t mind sharing when they are little).

Also, in SE London most of the schools are good and improving. I wouldn�t necessarily bother targeting a specific school but make sure you are in the catchment of at least one primary school as there are certain areas with black holes.

Nancy66 Wed 05-Feb-14 15:57:50

Ahh, I didn't see your budget. I don't think you'll get anything more than okish 2 bed flat in the areas you want for that.

You're better off moving more out towards Kent.

TTAJ Thu 06-Feb-14 10:32:08

Thanks guys, lots to consider!

Millionprammiles - I hadn't even considered your point about needs once you have a couple of kids, but your right, my perspective had changed over the last year and can imagine this will continue!

Lessonsintightropes let me know how you get on

I think I had got myself wrapped up that we needed to be near 'schools' but the more I think about it its primary school thats important initially - who knows what will change in either our finances or our choice of where to live over the coming years, even the last years changed!

Thanks for all the detail Londongirl, and I've been meaning to check out the Horniman for a while!

I've also seen a number of properties in Tooting and looking into schools now, the area seems to have changed a lot over the last few years - any tips from anyone?

Quinteszilla Thu 06-Feb-14 10:38:27

This you can extend in to the loft and garden, in time:

Quinteszilla Thu 06-Feb-14 10:38:50

This you can extend in to the loft and garden, in time:

Forgot to make the links clickable

monniemae Sun 09-Feb-14 15:51:07

Near Brockley/Telegraph Hill/Nunhead is New Cross Gate - the A2 runs through it but the Hatcham Park conservation area has lovely victorian streets for well under £500k, in the catchment of an outstanding primary which will get you into Haberdashers for secondary.

Nunhead is probably out of budget now but the schools are good and walking distance to Peckham, East Dulwich, Brockley etc though there are already a great pub, deli and restaurant in Nunhead.

I have friends who've moved slightly further out to Crofton Park (SE4 Brockley postcode) which is nice and full of families and Catford which felt a bit far to me but has a huge estate called The Corbett Estate where you can get huge, stunning Victorian houses within your budget.

I've also heard good things about Tooting though I think prices jumped a lot in 2013.

monniemae Sun 09-Feb-14 15:53:55

Just to add, respectfully disagreeing with LondonGirl grin I think the opposite - Nunhead and Brockley have loads of things to do, for young families especially - baby groups, playgroups, and also bars etc. Though all these places are easily accessible to eachother

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