Property insider: Belsize Park

Belsize Park has big family homes close to the City and is surrounded by acres of parkland. Kristy Gray gets the property lowdown on this sought-after London area from local estate agent James Ripp of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward
Belsize Park cafes
© Alamy
Belsize Park has a cosmopolitan mix of lively cafes, bars and restaurants
Belsize Park has an enviable mix of pretty mews cottages and big, Victorian family homes on wide, tree-lined streets, with the vast green spaces of Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill - which provides some of the best views of central London - on its doorstep.

With quick transport links to the City and the West End, a lively mix of bars, cafes and restaurants - and celebrity neighbours including Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin - homes in this fashionable corner of north-west London command above-average prices.

Belsize Park borders Hampstead to the north and west, Kentish Town and Gospel Oak to the east and Chalk Farm and Camden Town to the south-east. Belsize Park underground (Northern line) and Swiss Cottage underground (Jubilee line) are both handy for those working in Canary Wharf and the City.

James Ripp - the sales manager of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Belsize Park office - describes this popular enclave as a “lively area with many restaurants, pubs and cafes that attract a celebrity crowd. A wealth of transport links also means it is an ideal place for professionals to live.”

Although Belsize Park is a relatively small geographical district, there are three distinct shopping areas - Belsize Village, England’s Lane and Haverstock Hill – which mix high street chains with speciality stores, trendy cafes and upmarket bistros – popular with well-heeled locals and young families, and perfect for celebrity-spotting.

Property lowdown: James Ripp, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward

What types of property are typical to this area?
The houses in the area are mainly Victorian (1837-1901), with a mix of white stucco-fronted buildings in popular roads including Belsize Park Road, Belsize Square and Lancaster Grove, which were built in the 1850s to compete with houses in west London.

There are also Queen Anne-style red-brick houses (1860-1900) on Eton Avenue and Lyndhurst Gardens built by architect William Willett in the 1880s, similar to the types of houses found in Sloane Square. There are also some Regency (1811-1820), Georgian (1714-1830) and a few Arts and Crafts houses (1834-1896).

Who is buying here?
Belsize Park typically attracts three-types of buyers:
* Families: attracted by the excellent schools and local parks.
* Professionals: enjoy easy access to Canary Wharf and London’s West End via good transport links. Many own a number of properties in the area.
* An arty crowd: this area is also popular with people who work in the arts, including many actors and actresses.

What are the hottest properties in the area?
The triangle between Belsize Park Tube and Swiss Cottage Tube, including Eton Avenue. Properties on Steele’s Road, Belsize Park Gardens, Belsize Square, Lancaster Grove and Lancaster Drive are sought-after and exclusive due to the convenient location and proximity to Hampstead and Belsize Village shops.

Demand outstrips supply at the moment so when properties in these areas do become available they are receiving multiple offers.

Where are the "hidden gems"?
Property prices drop as you go towards Chalk Farm. In streets such as Eton College Road and Eton Villas you get more space for your money, as well as towards the South End Green side of Hampstead Road, including Estelle and Sherlock Roads. You also get more square footage in properties on Constantine and Savernake Roads.

Belsize Park is generally a very quiet area, particularly around the back streets which have a very friendly atmosphere with neighbours happy to chat in the street and plenty of good schools.

What are the best investment opportunities in the area?
Many of the large houses in the area have been converted to apartments. There are buy-to-let opportunities, particularly for long-term lets for capital growth. Properties in the area will always increase or hold their value and demand for rentals is strong.

What are the service charges like?
Service charges vary considerably due to the freeholders, the individual building contracts, and how many buildings are run together. Annually these can range from £1,000-£5,000 a year.

What are your favourite viewings to show potential buyers?
There is such a wide range of property, it’s always exciting to be out and about in this area. Because some of the properties are so large with high ceilings, there can be some really interesting homes to show potential buyers – including apartments that span about 2,000sq ft with individual internal layouts – generally people are very creative in how they decorate homes here.

Where would you buy in the area?
I’d probably go for a detached house on Eton Avenue with a carriage driveway.

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