In 2001, the Borough of Lambeth had 64,682 registered voters. In 2013 this figure had risen to 284,000 which in itself speaks volumes about the changes to the area and local demographic seen over the past decade. Having lived in Oval, South London during this time, I’ve been lucky enough to witness the differences personally, and yet still the regeneration continues.
Brixton’s change has largely been as a result of the excellent transport links and the speed in which you can be in Central London. In comparison with neighbouring Clapham, you can normally get a seat on the Victoria line in the morning and it will have you in Central London in less than 15 minutes. Whereas in previous years Brixton was considered less desirable and more gritty than other surrounding areas, all that has changed and there is now a definite ambience and soul that surrounds and fills the entire area, making it increasingly sought after. Banksy deemed it worthy enough of an artwork in 2003 and more recently photographic exhibitions and other cultural displays are regulars on the high street. The area has become so desirable that residential property prices increased by 25% in 2013 alone with further increases predicted this year.
This regeneration however has been carefully managed and interestingly, the artistic pull of the area is still incredibly strong, so much so that Brixton has fast become one of London’s leading foodie hotspots with a range of global dishes available on just about every street corner. The retail offering here is incredibly unique with the market and side streets offering an eclectic mix of different occupiers that you wouldn’t normally see on a regular high street. The residents of Brixton are very proud of its uniqueness and many a chain store has come up against some fierce opposition from passionate locals keen to ensure its heritage is retained.
Brixton has become a destination and commercially, rents have continued to rise over the last ten years. A small A1 retail unit measuring in the region of 500sqft can now be acquired in a good secondary location such as Electric Avenue, SW2, for close to £20,000 per annum compared to £5,000 - £7,500 some ten years ago. There is now a waiting list to occupy the infamous indoor Brixton Village site with some larger premises with A3 or A4 consent coming to the market closer to £40,000 per annum. Restaurateurs who have been in the area for a long time are now cashing in and charging a premium for their valuable leases as the gentrification continues. Units on Brixton Road are indeed incredibly sought after nowadays with the High Street itself awash with multiple retailers we all know well, from Marks & Spencer to Superdrug, Carphone Warehouse to Brixton’s very own department store, Morleys.
Developers are buying up what remains of potential opportunities and a semi-detached end of terrace development opportunity which we have been marketing on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Barrington Road, SW9, for £1 million is now firmly under offer and is a sign of how high property values in the have become. Barratt Homes meanwhile are also now offering new build commercial and residential properties on Coldharbour Lane which is virtually on the doorstep of Brixton Village and is already being very well received by local residents.
As the area continues its upward climb, many boutique retailers and restaurateurs are seeing the value of operating in this area and good retail sites are becoming as rare as hens teeth, so using a good, reputable commercial agency who understands the local market is key.