A homeowner who bought a four bedroom house on Britain’s ‘most dangerous’ street for £5,000 in 1970 is now able to celebrate after the area became a trendy hotspot – sending the value of his property rocketing to more than £1million.
Hasan Rezvan, 75, moved to the UK from Cyprus and snapped up the house on Coldharbour Lane.
In 1981 the area was rocked by the Brixton riots and by the late 1990s, the south London enclave had a developed a reputation for drug use and violence.
The street was named ‘Britain’s most dangerous’ in 2003 after £1million of crack was said to be dealt there every month – as well as nearly 15,000 stabbings, robberies, muggings and murders.
But now, youngsters flock to the ‘edgy’ Lambeth neighbourhood – sending house prices and the rental market soaring to eye-watering levels.
Hasan Rezvan poses outside his house on Coldharbour Lane in south London
How times change: Mr Rezvan lives on Coldharbour Lane in south London
In 1981 the area was rocked by the Brixton riots – seen here in pictures from the time
Rightmove data shows how home prices in SW9 have exploded since the early 2000s, starting at an average of £200,000 and rising to around £600,000.
Terraced houses in the area can sell for well over £1million, while a semi-detached can go for as much as £2million.
A four-bed terrace on Coldharbour Lane, just like Mr Rezvan’s, sold for £1,075,000 in June 2021.
Mr Rezvan said he’d hardly had any problems living on Coldharbour Lane and does not feel unsafe there despite its former reputation.
He recalls fighting and constant police at a nearby block, saying: ‘You could hear the screams’.
However, reflecting on the present day, Mr Rezvan stressed: ‘There’s hardly anything, it’s getting better.’
Across the road there used to be a carpark with a car boot sale, but it’s now been turned into the huge Printworks Apartments complex, with its striking lime green balconies.
Mr Rezvan was initially worried about the effects of so many people moving in across the road, but he says the security on the new buildings means there’s no issues.
Terraced houses in the area can now sell for well over £1million, while a semi-detached can go for as much as £2million
The street was once however dubbed ‘Britain’s most dangerous’
Wrecked buildings and cars in Brixton, London, following the 1981 riots
A woman sweeps rubble off the pavement while a car burns in the street in April 1981
Rioting, looting and arson confronted police – pictured is a car set on fire amid the riots
Aerial view of fire engines outside a burnt-out furniture warehouse on Coldharbour Lane
Police lined up on a Brixton street amid the riots which rocked the area in the 80s
Speaking from his front garden, Mr Rezvan accepted that while his house might be worth a lot: ‘I do not have the money in my pocket.’
He also says any money earned on the sale would probably be lost to the Cypriot healthcare system if he were to retire there.
Mr Rezvan continued: ‘The only way to get it is to sell it up and go home to Cyprus. But when I live here for 50 years, this is my home now.’
Mr Rezvan had one piece of advice to young people trying to get on the housing ladder; they need to be willing to make sacrifices if they want to own a home.
Pointing to his tired black leather shoes, Mr Rezvan said: ‘Kids want their names on the trainers, but I’m happy with these.’
Coldharbour Lane is more than a mile long and shops, bars and restaurants are on the stretch of the road located near Brixton Market.
A general view of modern Coldharbour Lane, which runs through Brixton, Herne Hill, and Camberwell in south London
The modern day Printworks Apartments, Coldharbour Lane, Herne Hill, Lambeth, south London
Lifelong resident Esme Thawe says she remembers the drugs, drug users and rough sleepers who used to be on the road.
Speaking to MyLondon she said: ‘People just used to rob you because they had no money, when people beg and do not get what they want they get angry.’
Ms Thawe, who has a fruit and vegetables shop on Market Row, said she would get thieves who would walk past and just grab a bunch of bananas.
Cafe owner Salih Salih told how ‘there’s always been a few muggings, but it’s not really happening like it used to.’
Maya Rivett-Martinez, 19, works in Brixton’s Prince Albert pub. She added that in her lifetime the area has become safer, but trouble still sometimes flares.