Both areas are popular among young professionals for their greater affordability compared to other parts of London, with schemes such as Berkeley’s Juniper Gardens - the latest phase of homes at its Oval Village development – expected to attract the attention of buyers and investors alike.
Estate agents in the area agree with the ‘hotspot’ analogy, with Georgina Woods, operations manager at Chestertons – a large estate agency operating in London and internationally – saying: “Oval is a vibrant part of London that caters to everyone’s tastes. With the easy commute into Central London and plenty of green spaces, Oval offers the village lifestyle that a lot of Londoners now crave.”
She added: “The re-zoning of Kennington tube station will undoubtedly cause a surge in demand in the area, and certainly, an uplift in property values. According to Rightmove (March 2021), searches have doubled in areas like Nine Elms, Battersea, and Clapham and all of the top 10 latest rental hotspots are in Zones 1 and 2. The rise in Zone 1 searches may come as a surprise with the recent pandemic, however people are as keen as ever to live in Central London.”
Jonathan Roberts, associate director (direct sales) at Strawberry Star, agrees: “We anticipate that both the opening of the Northern Line extension and the re-zoning of Kennington station to Zone 1 will lead to property prices rising in the area. The station’s Zone 1 status will strengthen the perception of Oval’s proximity to Central London.”
He added that better connectivity with Battersea – which is undergoing a renovation of its own as part of the Nine Elms project, with the transformation of Battersea Power Station central to this – will undoubtedly benefit local residents, while lower ticket costs will be another attraction for people moving into the area.
“The growing popularity of Battersea has resulted in prices rising there, which makes Oval good value in comparison,” Roberts explained.
“Prices have been stable over the past year, largely because of the reduction in international buyers owing to travel restrictions, but this is likely to change as the market recovers. There are good opportunities to buy off-plan now and to benefit from anticipated future rises.”
Adam Anker, sales director at MyLondonHome, says the company has seen property sales grow in Oval and Kennington over the last year, with a shift towards owner/occupiers.
“Many are London-based and first-time buyers, driven by the stamp duty holiday,” he said. “The transport links are a strong attraction, as is the area’s large amount of green space, which has become a priority to many people following lockdown.”
Oval is one of London’s most established rental hotspots and, in normal times, a hotbed for cricket fans visiting one of the world’s most iconic grounds. These things together, along with its easy access to Central London, may make it attractive to investors, especially when the lower buy-in costs are also factored in.
As well as cricket, Oval also has plenty of independent shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs, as well as a number of local parks. It sits on the fringes of the Vauxhall Battersea Nine Elms Opportunity Area, with all the opportunities this rejuvenation brings, while also being quieter than Battersea and Vauxhall. It’s also only a ten-minute walk from the Thames in one direction and trendy Camberwell in the other.
What's more, it's a short walk from what is known as Little Portugal, an area in South London with a high concentration of Portuguese expats.
Kennington is less well-known, and kind of feeds into Oval itself, but also has its own character – with plenty of good pubs and the serenity and beauty of Kennington Park.
What is on offer in the area?
According to Berkeley, the first collection of homes at Oval Village has attracted a wide variety of buyers seeking an apartment in an up-and-coming area close to the heart of the capital, ‘but without the price tag that comes with a Central London property’.
With the launch of Juniper Gardens, buyers and investors are being given a choice of Manhattan, one, two and three-bedroom apartments set in a 16-storey building overlooking ‘beautifully landscaped gardens’.
Every apartment features a balcony and residents will also benefit from a range of amenities, including a 24-hour concierge, 22-seat cinema, private gym and fitness studio, swimming pool and spa, all of which is set to be included in a future phase of development.
The ‘beautiful’ new showroom, located at the sales and marketing suite, aims to showcase Berkeley’s attention to design detail. The developer says its ‘refined, minimalist material palette’ creates a modern look.
Marc von Grundherr, director at well-known London lettings agency Benham & Reeves, says tenants are now looking for something different and investors need to make sure they are factoring these changes in when choosing their next investment.
“In our most recent survey of tenants, it’s clear how the priorities of London residents have changed since the pandemic started,” he said. “In October 2019, residents were looking for quick transport links, cinema rooms and proximity to restaurants. One year on, high-speed internet, private outside space and landscaped gardens are top of the list. Buyers at developments like Oval Village, including those purchasing an investment property, can tick every box and benefit over time from a substantial uplift, too.”
Paul Vallone, divisional managing director at Berkeley, commented: “Oval is a really fantastic place to live; it has long been favoured by city dwellers looking for value, green space and excellent transport connections close to the centre of the capital.”
He added: “Berkeley’s Oval Village development provides an exciting opportunity for buyers who want to live amongst a new community and benefit form a wide range of excellent facilities on their doorstep. Those who reserve now, during the early phases of this significant regeneration scheme, can be the first to benefit from its expected growth potential.”
Oval Village is a seven-minute walk from Oval and Vauxhall stations. Oval is a key commuter hub on the Northern Line (with trains reaching Bank in only nine minutes), while Vauxhall is on the Victoria line, with Victoria just a four minute journey away and the shopping and theatre opportunities of Oxford Street only nine minutes away.
Meanwhile, trains from Kennington – an 11-minute walk from the development – will stop at the new stations on the Northern Line, namely Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station.
Berkeley says some of London’s best schools and universities are within easy reach of Oval Village, such as Harris Academy in Battersea, King’s College London and LSE. It also points to the many parks and commons in the area, including the aforementioned Kennington Park, which is just a five minutes’ walk away from Oval Village.
Prices at Juniper Gardens start from £575,000 for Manhattan apartment. To book a private appointment to view the new show home, or to be guided through a virtual tour, you can call 020 3797 0025 or visit www.ovalvillage.co.uk.
A few months ago, PIT attended a webinar outlining why new-build schemes from developers such as Berkeley are increasingly targeting investors as well as the more traditional first-time buyers that typically purchase homes at places like Oval Village.