The south-west London neighbourhood of Balham has arrived. Good-value homes and swift transport links to the City and the West End have resulted in an increasing number of homebuyers seeking out this well-connected area.
Young professionals and first-time buyers are finding homes conveniently close to trendy local gastropubs, restaurants and bars, as well as mainline rail and Northern line Tube stations.
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Spacious Victorian and Edwardian houses, conversions and cottages within easy reach of three huge open spaces — Clapham, Wandsworth and Tooting Commons — also tempt growing families from nearby areas such as Fulham, Clapham and Battersea.
Laura Wilcox-Chandley of Marsh and Parsons says that families also move to this area for the schools. Henry Cavendish, Ravenstone and Holy Ghost Primary Schools are popular with parents.
The property lowdown
What properties are typical to the area?
Victorian and Edwardian houses and conversions are found throughout Balham, as well as mansion blocks and purpose-built flats and maisonettes.
Who is buying here?
Balham has a real mix of first-time buyers, young professionals and families.
Where should first-time buyers start their property search?
Byrne Road is a bit further from the station so is good value for money. Laitwood road has nice conversion properties. Endlesham Road is another good place to start.
What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
The most sought-after houses are within the Nightingale triangle - the area bordered by Balham High Road, Ravenslea Road and Nightingale Lane. There is a mix of terraced houses, smaller cottages, large Victorian and Edwardian houses and conversions. Nightingale Square is one of the best addresses in Balham as the houses overlook communal gardens as well as having their own private gardens, but these homes are rarely available.
The cluster of streets around Abbeville Road, close to Clapham South and Clapham Common, is known locally as “Abbeville village”, and as its name suggests, it has a villagey feel with family houses and good local restaurants and cafés.
There is also long list of buyers waiting for flats to become available at Clapham Mansions, an attractive Victorian apartment block close to Clapham South Tube station on Nightingale Lane.
Where are the 'hidden gems'?
The Telford conservation area is very close to Balham and has beautiful houses and a strong community. This estate is characterised by attractive Queen Anne style homes in excess of 2,500sq ft. A five-bedroom house recently sold in this area for £1.82 million.
What are the best investment opportunities?
Du Cane Court has lots of one-bedroom flats and studios so it attracts some buy-to-let investors. Modern apartment blocks near Clapham South, such as the Latitude apartments, Gateway House and Hillgate Place, rent very easily and are always in high demand.
How is local parking?
Parking is good. Some houses come with parking spaces and residents can also apply for permits. Parking is still free in some parts of Streatham.
What are service charges in the area like?
Service charges vary depending on the type of property. Fees for flats in period conversions can vary from £400 to £800 a year, while larger modern apartment blocks can cost from £1,400 to £2,000 a year. Traditional mansion blocks such as Hightrees House on Nightingale Lane next to Clapham Common, has a swimming pool, and can cost about £4,000 a year.
Where would your dream home be in this area?
Balham Park road – the houses are stunning and it’s close to Wandsworth Common.
Laura Wilcox-Chandley is Sales Manager of Marsh and Parson's Balham and Clapham South office.