Best of both worlds

Accessible and vibrant yet full of original village-like charm, north west London is a haven for those seeking the perfect work-life balance.

6 October, 2022

The iconic cover of The Beatles 11th album made Abbey Road, in St John’s Wood, one of the most famous streets in the world. But, with its cultural landmarks, historic properties and impressive parks, north west London has been attracting creatives and intellectuals for centuries. Accessible, vibrant and undeniably opulent, yet full of original villagelike charm, with the added benefit of good parks and excellent schools, north west London is one of those places that ticks a lot of boxes.

From the elegant villa-style housing and tree-lined streets of Belsize Park, to the Victorian, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts homes of West Hampstead and the stately three and four-storey townhouses of Primrose Hill, property here is among some of the most sought after in London for buyers and renters alike.

This part of London, with its smattering of village neighbourhoods, has become a haven for anyone seeking to escape the city without actually leaving it. With the landscaped gardens of Regent’s Park, views of London from Primrose Hill, and the wilds, ponds and pools of Hampstead Heath, north west London is home to some of the Capital’s most loved parkland, while its nature and conservation areas provide truly enchanting scenery. But it’s also centrally located, offering easy access to the city for those days spent in the office.

According to Land Registry figures, the average house price in this area of London increased by £141,383 (15.4%) over the last 12 months to June 2022. And while apartments, with an average selling price of £691,268, accounted for the majority of recorded sales in north west London during the last year, family homes are in increasing demand.

Best of both worlds - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

The outside spaces of Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Queen’s Park offer buyers the escape from city life.

Robert McLaughlin, who heads up KFH’s north, north west and west London sales operations, says the market has been “busy all year with buyers looking for a leafy London suburb to call home”. “The area has definitely benefitted from buyers returning to London postpandemic and wanting once again to be close to the action,” he adds. “The outside spaces of Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Queen’s Park offer buyers the escape from city life that has increasingly become an important ‘must have’ for those looking for a better work-life balance. However, the transport links must still be there and so areas that can offer both are proving the most in demand.”

With its independent boutiques, craft brewery, yoga studios and a popular farmers’ market, Queen’s Park is an ideal spot for those priced out of the Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill areas that became so popular with the rich and famous in the 1990s. Nowadays media and creative types migrate to the streets around the pretty park, which became a conservation area in the 1980s. “Queen’s Park is definitely increasing in popularity this year with a good selection of family houses and a growing identity as the place to be,” says McLaughlin. “This corner of north west London is closest to the West End and is increasingly becoming the first-choice location for buyers.”

West Hampstead – London’s original West End – has also seen a renaissance in recent years thanks to its active local community, vibrant high street, abundance of period homes and exceptional transport links with multiple train line options across London in all directions. Not considered quite as grand as its more expensive neighbours, West Hampstead offers buyers and tenants more for their money and this area of London has recently been performing well with demand outstripping supply in both the sales and lettings markets.

Best of both worlds - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

It’s not uncommon to come into the office to 20-30 viewing enquiries the day after a property is launched online.

With annual growth of 13.5%, London rental prices have seen their largest annual rise in over 20 years – even higher than the recovery seen following the 2008 financial crisis – with growth being driven by central and north west London. Simon Patton, KFH’s lettings director for north, north west and west London, says stock levels have been light for the past nine to ten months and, with such a high level of tenants searching for homes in this area, properties are not hanging around for long. “Family houses are very much in demand with tenants often getting in a bidding war, not just on price, but also pushing the guarantee of longer terms,” he comments. “After family houses anything with outside space is in big demand, as well as properties with additional space that can be used as an office. Despite many people returning to their offices, there are a great deal of people working from home for some of the week and that extra space can mean separating your work and home life that bit better.”

While there have been signs that stock numbers will increase for the foreseeable future, with tenant demand so high choice will come at a premium. “It’s not uncommon to come into the office to 20-30 viewing enquiries the day after a property is launched online,” says Patton. “The market is moving quick, and tenants often need to make snap decisions on a property with not much else to compare to.” McLaughlin agrees, saying that despite the recent political unrest and the cost of living crisis, the heat appears to be staying in the market. What’s clear is that north west London is very much one of the Capital’s most in demand areas.

Best of both worlds - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

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