While Croydon and the Gatwick area don’t comprise a single region as such they are a closely linked, economically important part of the south east. So in this report we will look at prospects for the market here.
Background and economy
The one time market town of Croydon grew fast in the 20th century. During the 1950s and 60s it was developed with a then-futuristic high rise town centre, intended to become a second central business district for the capital. It became part of Greater London in 1965.
Croydon’s economy is largely service based and it is a significant centre for office and retail employment. Develop Croydon say that Grade A office space here is around a third of the cost of central London. Reports suggest there are around 1,000 tech., digital and creative businesses in the area, mainly small, with Croydon being dubbed ‘The Silicon Valley of South London’.
Croydon is now the second largest London borough with a population of 385,000 and is expected to grow to 430,000 by 2026, slightly faster than the London average according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Gatwick Airport was developed as a second airport for London in the 1950s. The airport grew fast in the 1990s due to both a lack of capacity at Heathrow Airport and growth in budget airlines. It is the second largest UK airport handling 46m passengers annually and £7.5bn of international trade. In recent years there has been significant growth in non-European long haul flights.
The surrounding towns such as Horley and Crawley are heavily dependent on the airport and the businesses which serve it, and 24,000 local jobs are aviation-related. The one-time new town of Crawley has a population of 110,000 and is expected to grow to around 121,000 by 2026. It is estimated there are 86,000 jobs in the area with 31,000 people commuting in to work here.