For many centuries London has been a city of two halves. North of the river you’ll find neighbourhoods the capital’s well-to-do have coveted for much of its history while swathes of south London have, until the early 20th century at least, been less developed.
This history still holds sway today and, for example, most celebrities remain fixed on living in places much as St John’s Wood or Chelsea and Russian billionaires continue to run for the hills in Hampstead instead of south of the river. Therefore, the Thames remains a house price dividing line. Or does it?
As many neighbourhoods in central and northern London have rocketed in price so the push into south London has gathered pace and reach, gentrifying in its path places such as Clapham and Battersea over the past decade or more. So do you still get more for your money (or pay less for similar homes) south of the river compared to those north of it?
On the face of it, the difference is significant. The Land Registry reports that South London’s boroughs have an average house price of £343,878, some £80,200 less than properties north of the river. But exclude the foreign-money dominated central boroughs such and Kensington and Mayfair and the gap closes to £3,200. So let’s look at whether this stacks up for the capital’s most prized property, the four bedroom house. I’ve looked at comparable areas which, although they may seem unfair, liken areas with similar housing stock, distance from central London and elevation or proximity to green space among other comparables. Prices are ‘average’.
Four-beds: West Hampstead vs Wimbledon town
Why? Both areas offer good train connections into London and are located alongside popular commons.
West Hampstead: £1.34million (KFH prices)
Wimbledon: £1.03million (KFH prices)
Premium: £300,000 less expensive to buy south of the river.
Four-beds: Highgate vs Blackheath
Why? Both semi-suburban areas near a heath
Highgate: £1.62million (KFH prices)
Blackheath: £750,576 (KFH prices)
Premium: £450,000 less expensive to buy south of the river.
Four beds: Southgate vs Merton
Why? Both places are cherished for being leafy suburbs but with circa-30 minute train rides into central London.
Southgate: £724,729 (KFH prices)
Merton: £771,080 (KFH prices)
Premium: £46,531 less expensive to buy north of the river.
Four beds: Islington vs Battersea
Why? Both have become highly fashionable in recent decades and offer family homes close to the centre of London but quite in the thick of it.
Islington: £1.22million (KFH prices)
Battersea: £1.36million (KFH prices)
Premium: £140,000 less expensive to buy north of the river.
So in essence, it very much appears that the gap is closing and based on the evidence above, areas located South of the river appear to be as desirable and in demand as those in the North.
Prices info: KFH/Land Registry/Zoopla