A few years ago most Londoners would have struggled to pinpoint where the south east London suburb of Forest Hill was.
But this is changing fast. As its more upmarket neighbours have become too expensive for many house hunters, more and more Garrington clients are asking for help to find a property in this formerly little-known postcode.
The reasons for this renewed popularity for SE23 are two-fold. Trains roll from Forest Hill’s station into London Bridge and more recently, directly into Canary Wharf and the City via the extended East London Line. The house hunters who would have once bought in nearby Dulwich village or trendy East Dulwich and many of London’s other fashionable suburbs have been priced out and are now looking for more affordable alternatives.
For a small group of locals Forest Hill has been a best-kept secret for a while but its tree-lined roads, the panoramic views from many of its hillier avenues (in particular Canonbie Road), its wonderful Horniman Museum and also its café culture, restaurants and boutiques are putting it back on the map.
Another allure is its strong community feel encouraged by the Forest Hill Society which, as well as meeting with the local council on community issues organises social events throughout the year including Forest Hill Fashion Week.
Prices are rising fast but it’s still an area where many believe a bargain can be had. Two bedroom flats start at £200,000 compared to £250,000 in Dulwich while three bedroom period houses start at £450,000, compared to £550,000 in, again, Dulwich.
Grander properties are available in Forest Hill too and Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron’s disgraced former spin doctor, recently had his five bedroom detached house on the market for £1.45 million. Similar properties in Dulwich Village go for up to £1 million more. Other local celebrities include singer Kate Bush and interior designer Linda Barker.
But with renewed popularity for Forest Hill comes an often-heard complaint elsewhere in London. The best houses are being fought over and snapped up fast and, consequently, more buyers looking in these areas are turning to Garrington for assistance.