Hundreds of families moving east to snap up bigger homes are turning the area into a new “nappy valley” to rival the traditional breeding ground of Battersea’s Northcote Road between Wandsworth and Clapham Common, according to the capital’s oldest letting agency Edmund Cude.
The agency’s managing director Robert Nichols said: “There are quite a few people moving away from the Clapham area into the greener parts of Dulwich, because tenants can get somewhere bigger and increase their standard of living.
“They are very similar areas, with plenty of independent shops and boutiques, but what you pay for a two-bed flat in Clapham gets you a house in Dulwich. The commute is pretty straightforward and you see a lot of pushchairs and bumps around — Dulwich and East Dulwich are becoming the new nappy valley.”
Rents for four-bedroom houses in Dulwich have shot up by nearly 20 per cent in two years with those for such properties in Barry Road and Crystal Palace Road rising by £400 to £2,600 a month since 2010, Mr Nichols said.
A similar property in Clapham costs nearer £3,000 a month, according to estate agents Hoxtons.
The huge demand for rentals has filtered down to smaller flats in North Cross Road, off East Dulwich’s Lordship Lane, which boasts a wealth of independent shops and local landmarks such as the Blue Mountain coffee house.
Would-be tenants looking for a one-bedroom flat in North Cross Road are now paying £1,200 a month on average — 26 per cent more than in 2010.
Rents for two-bed properties have surged by even more, up 28 per cent to £1,410 according to Edmund Cude. Rents are also up by an average of 20 per cent in nearby Bassano Street and Melbourne Grove, its figures showed.
The price increases in Dulwich are nearly double the 12 per cent rise across the capital as a whole since September 2010, according to LSL Property Services.
London renters now pay a record £1,092 on average, with rents rising 1.7 per cent in the past month — the fastest rate since November 2010. According to LSL, rents have risen for six months in a row because of a drought in the mortgage market, which has forced people to rent for longer.
View from east dulwich: ‘Pavements need pushchair lanes’
Lucy McCarthy, 31, full-time mother, lives with husband Dean, a desktop publisher, Daisy, five, and Lex, 18 months: “I’ve lived in East Dulwich all my life and there’s so much for kids here. But the schools are oversubscribed — there are five closer than the one our daughter got into.”
Cat Kyrke-Smith, 36, X Factor series producer, lives with husband Edward, 31, a tree surgeon and son Freddie, one: “The mothers around here fight for pavement space with the number of prams. You almost need a designated lane for pushchairs. The only problem is getting into pre-school. Apparently people get on waiting lists when they’re pregnant.”
Nicola Washington, 31, teacher lives with recruitment consultant Ray Famurewa, 33, and four-week-old Ada: “We moved here two years ago when having a family was on the cards. We had lived in Croydon and the fact that this is such a family-friendly area was definitely a factor in our decision.”
Russell Lynch, Evening Standard (Online) 7th Nov 2012