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Woolwich and the Elizabeth line, A forgotten South-east London goldmine?

For prospective buyers looking to turn a quick profit or a family home that has good investment prospects you could do a lot worse than Woolwich in South-east London.

The Elizabeth line is set to cause a bit of a stir in the property market and the prospect of getting on at Woolwich and just four stops later getting off at Liverpool Street is very enticing indeed.  At the stop before Woolwich (Abbeywood) trains will pickup passengers taking then all the way to London Paddington.  The new line boasts an eight minute journey to Canary Wharf and is just 22 minutes from Bond Street.  This is a fantastic shortcut to the heart of London and makes the city far more accessible to Woolwich residents.

Of course and as with any major infrastructure investment/upgrade there are to be implications on the Woolwich property market.  Property agents CBRE estimate that houses nearer to the station could be set for a 4.5% faster growth rate than at present.  For any prospective buyers in the area this is very welcome news and it stands to reason that anyone buying here will make a decent return on their investment.

Some notable facts about the largely unknown town are that it was once the Royal Arsenal and the heart of the munitions industry for more than 200 years.  In its peak it was over 1285 acres in size and employed around 80,000 people.  In 1886, Dial Square a group of workers founded the Woolwich Arsenal football club.  The club moved to Highbury in 1913 and decided to just call themselves the now popular Arsenal football club.  They are still known as ‘the gunner’ purely because of their links to the munitions factories.  Geographically Woolwich sits roughly 10 miles south-east of central London.

A complete list of regeneration projects is listed by Greenwich council here. The regeneration of Woolwich didn’t really start until 2003.  It began with the residential towers of Royal Artillery Quays on the far east side of town, near Thamesmead.  Things started to look noticeably better when the new town square was built and the forward looking Tesco building and flats were developed.  None of this was really enough to entice people to the area until the Royal Arsenal Riverside was built.  To quote some facts, the Royal Arsenal Riverside cost Berkeley Homes £1.2 Billion and created 5,000 new homes to the area.  Unlike some of the towering, concrete monstrosities Woolwich had seen in the past these were tastefully designed and often made use of existing heritage buildings.

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The Square, sets an attractive scene for the heart of Woolwich

Like many areas of South-east London Woolwich has some very attractive period properties, many of them from the Victorian era.  To give you a rough idea on price, a fairly sizable Victorian house, about 20 minutes walk from Woolwich train station will set you back around £600,000.  The Royal Riverside flats may appear pricey but when compared to towns only 5 miles closer in they offer remarkable value.  In the Royal Riverside a one bedroom flat costs around £480,000, a two bedroom flat around £635,000 and a three bedroom penthouse could cost you about £1.8 million.  Foxton’s sales manager Christopher Venter stated “Woolwich has been touted as up-and-coming for the last decade, however, that status hasn’t been fully achieved until very recently,”.

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An artists impression of the new Elizabeth line at Woolwich

It seems that there are fewer and fewer forgotten gems as the London net ever widens bringing its fast rising property prices with it.  Whilst Woolwich has had its problems in the past it looks like it is ripe to be ‘gentrified’ as the future of the town looks brighter by the day.

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