Property Investment Guide Southwark

40% of the borough is undergoing regeneration

The London Borough of Southwark is undergoing dramatic regeneration. From The Shard in the north right down to Peckham in the south-east, billions of pounds are flowing into huge development projects.

Elephant and Castle are seeing £3bn of regeneration, transforming the concrete estates into modern skyscrapers. In Peckham, Station Square is turning Peckham Rye into an open public piazza and shopping centre in a £15.25m project. 2,000 houses are being built in Bermondsey Spa, there’s a new town centre for Rotherhithe on the way and the Aylesbury Estate in the Walworth Road is under complete redevelopment.

In nearly every town in the borough, the big change is happening. This would explain why Southwark is London’s 7th most expensive borough with prices rising 21.1% last year, the third highest of all the London boroughs. The market is extremely buoyant and the ongoing regeneration happening here is having an upward effect on house prices and rental demand.

All this development began to snowball after the opening of The Shard in 2012. The tallest structure in London and western Europe proved that Southwark meant business; property south of the river was beginning to size-up to its more central counterparts.

But the Shard is just a fragment of a wider picture. It’s part of the London Bridge Quarter development which includes the creation of more office space, alongside expanding the train station, delivering a new bus station and concourse.

With an above average number of inward migrating people, Southwark’s growth is truly impressive. Elephant Park alone will create 5,000 new homes over the next 15 years and with similar developments occurring across the borough the growth is showing no signs of slowing. This will present many opportunities for investors.

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Economy & Employment

Lawyers and the press have a major industry presence in Southwark.

To the north of the borough are the More London and London Bridge City developments, housing the offices of many major professional service firms. These include PwC, Ernst Young, Lawrence Graham and Norton Rose.

The press and publishing companies are also well represented in Southwark, with the head office of the Financial Times in Southwark Bridge Road, IPC Magazines in Southwick Street and the Daily Mail and Evening Standard newspapers located at Surrey Quays.

The Shard and London Bridge Quarter puts Southwark amongst the World’s elite Business Centres and the regeneration of railway hubs at Blackfriars and London Bridge sets up huge transport, retail outlets and commercial opportunities for local business.

South Bank Employers’ Group is a unique partnership of seventeen of the major organisations in South Bank, Waterloo and Blackfriars with a long-term commitment to improving the everyday experience of the area for employees, visitors and residents alike.

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£4 billion of regeneration is in progress across the borough.

Southwark is fast becoming one of London’s most dynamic boroughs with 40% currently under regeneration. The borough council has invested tens of millions of pounds in the 2010s to improve housing in the borough, by transforming post-war housing estates and bringing them up to modern-day standards.

Southwark’s Economic Wellbeing Strategy for 2015 to 2020 includes bringing opportunities through the opening of The Shard and through major regeneration schemes to improve employment for locals by working in partnership with private, public and voluntary sectors.

To demonstrate that they are a council that is open for business and will promote and support economic wellbeing by making Southwark a place where people, are equipped with the skills and ambition to make the most of the central London location. There are lots of things underway to make good on the promises. Getting people into work and targeting support to the most vulnerable remains the big priority. Continuing to work closely with developers and others to bring jobs to the borough.

Over the coming three years, some £1m of funds will be targeted at supporting local business to grow and expand. Supporting local town centres and high streets through better street design, transport and shop front improvements in places like Peckham.


Air: London City Airport is the nearest to serve Southwark, at just 8.5 miles away, and London Bridge has excellent links to Gatwick via train.

Rail: London Bridge is a major hub station providing links across Southwark and the south of England. The Bakerloo line, Jubilee line and Northern line all run through the borough serving Bermondsey, Borough Canada Water, Elephant & Castle, Kennington, London Bridge and Southwark on the underground. The London Overground serves Surrey Quays, Rotherhithe, Canada Water, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham.

Road: The A201 crosses from the Elephant and Castle to Tower Bridge, with the A2 running along Old Kent Road to Kent and the A205 is the South Circular Road running east-west via Dulwich Common and Thurlow Park Road.

Bus: Southwark bus routes are in operation both day and night, locally and to surrounding boroughs.


Southwark has 73 primary schools, 18 secondary schools, 9 special schools 10 independent schools and 3 independent special schools.

Notable schools include: James Allen Girls’ School and Dulwich College, both are prestigious schools situated in the south of the borough. The latter currently has 1,500 boys, of whom 120 are borders making it one of the largest independent schools in the UK.

Dulwich has the strongest track record for house price growth in the UK as it has some of the best schools in the country.  Knight Frank report that prices have risen 897% since 1995 and average 12% a year since 1995 with a 53%: price growth in last 3 years.

Dulwich is a constant property performer because of the area’s schools. The 1,500-acre area has been controlled by freeholder the Dulwich Estate for 400 years and any development has to benefit the local schools. This means the area has not been overdeveloped and retains its village charm, having resisted ugly modernisation over the years. The area’s period buildings appeal to prime buyers looking for family homes outside of central London.

Further Education: Lewisham Southwark College provides the FE in the borough. The college was formed from the merger of Lewisham College and Southwark College. The Urban Academy is a post-16 educational and life skills academy at 34 Decima Street in south London.

Higher Education: London South Bank University (LSBU) at its Elephant and Castle site has over 23,000 students and 1,700 staff.  The University of the Arts London has two of its colleges in the borough, at Elephant and Castle is the London College of Communication and on Peckham Road is the Camberwell College of Arts. King’s College London, has the largest university teaching hospital in Europe at Guy’s Hospital.

Shops & Leisure

Shopping & Dining: The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre includes the usual high street brands, WHSmith, Boots, Superdrug and Iceland stores. On the first floor is a very cosmopolitan feel with an assortment of Latin American, Caribbean and Polish shops, plus bingo and bowling.

Southwark’s retail offering is getting a complete makeover. Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre will be completely revamped as part of the area’s ongoing regeneration plans. The former Vinopolis site near Borough Market will be developed into luxury flats with boutique stores similar to Covent Garden’s retail offering.

Due to the presence of Borough Market, Southwark is a haven for foodies. There are many top restaurants including Gregg’s Table, the restaurant from Master Chef presenter Gregg Wallace at The Bermondsey Square Hotel.

Peckham is becoming a popular London nightspot with venues such as Frank’s Campari Bar and club nights in The Bussey Building increasing in popularity due to their rooftop views and art-centric events.

Sport & Culture: Southwark borough is home to no less than eight leisure centres, offering everything from pools to pilates. As part of Southwark makes up the South Bank, there’s no shortage of art and culture from Tate Modern, The British Film Institute and The Design Museum though there are exhibition spaces throughout the borough including Dulwich Picture Gallery. In the summer there are also free events hosts in The Scoop next to City Hall.

Green Spaces: Southwark is one of the greenest boroughs in London. With 130 parks & open spaces, there’s a range of healthy walks, sports activities and great picnic areas. Burgess Park, Dulwich Park, and Peckham Rye Park are the largest but there are many greens and squares with public spaces for residents to enjoy.

Brett Alegre-Wood
August 27, 2017

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