Crossrail opening will intensify the spotlight on Woolwich and Abbey Wood and see prices rise by 20% according to property expert Graham Lawes.
“We have already seen a price adjustment and that has brought fresh interest, said JLL’s director of residential sales south east.
“People will be drawn to anywhere where there is regeneration or favourable transport links.
“Abbey Wood and Woolwich have been fairly suppressed price wise for a long time. But now it is their turn to shine.”
Graham said the area had historically been home to a high percentage of housing association properties and renters and had a “dodgy” reputation.
“People were drawn there because it was all they could afford but that’s changing,” he said.
“Abbey Wood in particular was a cut-through town and there was nothing there.”
Graham said the regeneration, started by Berkeley Homes’ development of Royal Arsenal, had not only brought new homes but also shops, infrastructure, better lighting and planting and “more pride of ownership”.
“Pubs and restaurants have upped their game,” he said.
“Five years ago Woolwich High Street was mostly shut up or was pound shops and you wouldn’t have wanted to wander around the area after dark because it was fairly edgy.
“But now millions have been ploughed into the area and it feels safe.
“I have property in Woolwich and Plumstead and it never moved for years. But now income has risen and things are a bit more liquid.
“So from an investment point of view yields work because rents have gone up and higher earners are starting to buy there.
“A certain demographic will be attracted to the transport links and it only takes a handful to move in and realise its quite nice and the prices are £200,000 cheaper than two stops down the road.”
He said Crossrail was the “icing on the cake” in the regeneration of the area but was without a doubt a strong factor in the market.
When it comes to selling, his prediction is a “glut” of properties coming up for sale once the Elizabeth Line opens in 2018 and prices rising by at least 20% in the next 18 months.
And he believes a lot of buyers will be renters who have “fallen in love” with the area.
The estate agent of 23 years, who has worked for JLL for 11 said it was “the million dollar question” and a “tough call” to say whether owners should sell now or wait.
“You have got the people who want to wait and see how many big rollers Crossrail brings in,” he said.
“Perhaps they are fearful of selling now because they might see another uplift of 15% in the next two years- which is highly likely seeing as a two-bedroom flat on the river in Greenwich is £600,000 and a similar flat on the river in Woolwich is £400,000. There is room for capital growth.”
He added: “Waiting is a gamble but with a calculated risk. It all comes down to the supply and demand conundrum.
“Crossrail will bring the supply but there are a lot of factors that could affect the demand such as Brexit.
“It has been fabulous for the area but people have to feel safe for them to do anything.”
He added: “Whether they should hold their nerve comes down to individual circumstances.
“Because their house price might go up but then the area they are looking to move to might go up as well in the next 18 months.
“We over analyse it really. I think people just need to look at the economics and see if they work.
“What does cashing in really mean?
“The truth is it comes down to how you feel.”
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