This year's Wimbledon tennis fortnight coincides with the launch of the greatest number of new homes in the area since Pete Sampras won the Men's title a decade ago.
- © Alamy
- © Alamy
With Murray mania gathering momentum ahead of the tournament, local property owners are at their usual game - cashing in on rental demand from top seeds, the media entourage and dedicated spectators (anything from £500 a week for a small flat to £1,000 a day for an ordinary family home, according to website tennislondon.co.uk).
Some are even putting their house up for sale in the hope of capturing a buyer from the legions of tennis tourists who descend on the district at this time of year.
The Grand Slam event is a wonderful global annual distraction when the world comes to south-west London, but once those famous trophies get their winners' kisses, Wimbledon village returns to its roots as the quintessential London suburb - leafy, smart and prosperous, a place for bankers, families and 4x4s, with golf courses, good schools and a Common that stretches to Putney Vale.
Houses bordering this semi-wooded expanse and luxury apartments with views across the Common command the area's highest prices. The housing mix spans Georgian and Victorian villas, artisan cottages, interwar semis, period terraces, Sixties town houses and retro-style flats.
So there is something for most tastes - at a price. New developments tend to be small infill schemes or one-off houses and modern mansions, though coming soon is a large regeneration project of note - former Atkinson Morley Hospital, a 25-acre site with planning permission for 94 dwellings that has been acquired by Berkeley Homes.
Estate agents tell you Wimbledon is two parts connected by a hill. At the top of the hill is the village, with its boutiques and hidden lanes leading to the Common.
At the bottom of the hill is bustling Wimbledon Broadway, the area's commercial heart, with chain stores, offices, theatre and cinema, bars and cafés, train and Tube stations plus a tram link across south London.
Wimbledon's hot assets
In the town, the average price is £400-500 a sq ft, meaning homes cost from about £250,000, whereas in the village, sq-ft values can be twice as much (on the same level as Marylebone in central London).
Estate agent Robert Holmes says: "The tennis fortnight is a great advert for Wimbledon but in essence the local property market revolves around the school year. It's a settled place — the country in London - where families put down roots. There's always competition for the right house in the village and often a property will go to sealed bids."
Luxury new houses have almost returned to peak 2007 values of £1,000 a sq ft, according to estate agent Savills, meaning prices start about £3million. Some are supersize properties.
A 15,000sq ft refurbished property, formerly an embassy for Gabon, recently sold for £18million, the highest price tag SW19 has ever seen. Nearby Drayton House, a 7,700sq ft new-build mansion on Parkside Avenue, a short stroll from the village and the All England Club tennis complex, costs £6.5million.
Like most of the other new Wimbledon whoppers, the latter has a traditional-style façade - made of stock brick and Bath stone with a portico entrance - grand rooms with classic- contemporary design, a lavishly landscaped garden, basement swimming pool and a cinema, and is stuffed with gizmos such as iPod docks and even belt-and-braces security. An 800sq ft super-room incorporates a Smallbone kitchen, dining and living areas. The garage is big enough for two Bentleys. The developer is Cherwell Group. Call 020 8947 9833.
An older property on Arteberry Road has been flattened to make way for three new homes on the same plot. Prices from £2.75million to £5million. IndigoScott, a local niche developer, has other projects in the pipeline. Call King Sturge on 020 7493 4933.
At St Mary's Road, Diadem Homes has built a sumptuous five-bedroom house with 6,000 sq ft of space. The price is £5.8million. Contact King Sturge. Launching at the end of July are three 3,300sq ft new homes — contemporary-style architecture - at Thackeray Close. Prices from £2 million. Contact Lusso Homes on 01932 858580.
Big by Wimbledon standards is a new 60-home development called Chorus. Located at the less gentrified end of the high street in "downtown" Wimbledon, it aims to fill a gap in the market - cheaper flats for investors and first-time buyers moving out of private rented accommodation. This "mixed-use" scheme has a sizeable office component and street-level shops plus shared ownership homes - all of a scale to give the address a presence.
Two-bedroom flats cost from £425,000. Underground parking (which is a real plus in Wimbledon) costs £25,000 per space. Call Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward on 020 8222 7200.
Fairlawns, located by Wimbledon Park, which has its own train station, is a conversion of a listed mansion (originally the home of Queen Victoria's dentist) into 10 apartments, with a price range from £499,950 to £1.95million. Call Foxtons on 020 8605 2900.
Budget buyers who cannot afford to live alongside the folks at the top or bottom of the hill, find themselves heading for Earlsfield and Raynes Park. The former has been steadily gentrifying since the late Eighties and has potential for more capital growth, as it is bordered by Wandsworth as well as Wimbledon. It has plenty of good-value Victorian and Edwardian terraces (houses from about £420,000) and is a handy 15-minute commute to Waterloo via Clapham Junction.
Shared-ownership flats in the Magdalen Road conservation area are for sale through Thames Valley Housing. All residents have access to a "sky garden" roof terrace. Prices start at £87,500 for a 35 per cent share of a one-bedroom apartment.Call 0844 470 4645.
Up-and-coming Raynes Park is set for a boost with a new Waitrose store, part of Trinity Place, being built next to the train station. St James Homes has launched the first phase of 51 apartments. Prices from £235,000. Call 020 8467 5695.