Camden Town in north London is famous for its colourful, if somewhat chaotic, maze of market stalls - a weekend attraction for thousands of tourists and locals.
© Barry Phillips
It also offers canalside living, in a wide range of converted period warehouses; first-time buyer studio flats and roomy Victorian family terrace homes, all of which have been a draw for buyers for many years.
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'Camden is so diverse. You can sometimes find a quiet mews or square and would hardly know you're in the heart of London'
But now this lively, arty and central location has another attraction in the form of a transformed King’s Cross on its doorstep - a brand new "mega-suburb" that is putting the whole area firmly on the radar of wealthy international buyers, City types and property investors.
Within easy reach of some of London’s top-notch addresses, such as St John’s Wood, Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Camden also has superb transport links. Camden Town, Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent underground stations are all on the Northern line, offering a quick commute to the City and the West End. Camden Road station, at the corner of Royal College Street and Camden Road, is on London Overground's North London Line and there are also mainline rail hubs at King's Cross, St Pancras and Euston.
Some of the city's top colleges and universities are nearby, including University College London (UCL), London School of Economics (LSE), London Business School and Central Saint Martin's School of Art and Design. This creates a strong demand for rental properties.
Local estate agent Liana Loporto of London Residential has worked in this area for the past four years. She says: “Camden is so diverse. It is unusual to go for a walk without seeing something weird and wonderful happen. There is always a hustle and bustle, and the streets are always busy, although you can sometimes find a quiet mews or square and you would hardly know that you are in the heart of London.”
Which properties are typical to the area?
Properties range from ex-council flats to period conversions and multi-million pound houses. The ex-council flats appeal particularly to landlords as they are close to many of the popular colleges. These flats achieve high rents in the summer months and attract queues of students from August until October looking to rent.
The period conversions are mostly Georgian or Victorian and are found on lovely, tree-lined streets, stretching from Camden Town to Kentish Town and Tufnell Park, such as Bartholomew Road, Lawford Road, Kelly Street, Caversham Road and Gainsford Road. These types of homes normally appeal to families and young couples starting off their lives together. On the Camden Town side, there are a mixture of period conversions of various sizes in Camden Mews, Rochester Road, and within the South and North villas.
Regent's Park and the houses which surround it attract overseas investment and Primrose Hill, with its’ popular nursery schools, attracts both local and international interest.
Who is buying here?
Camden Town's central location and proximity to so many colleges means that rental properties can achieve yields of up to 10 per cent, making investors a strong part of the market. International buyers are common, with strong demand from Greek, Italian, Asian and Chinese buyers. Parents buying homes for their children are a big segment of the market, as well as families and young professionals. Once people move here they tend to stay within the area, upsizing and downsizing to suit their needs.
What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
Park Village East and West, Darwin Court and The Lock House are sought-after apartment blocks with porters, gyms and parking. Darwin Court is a mid-1900s apartment block in Gloucester Avenue, one of this area’s most prime streets, and offers plenty of space, parking and a communal garden.
The demographic of homeowners living here has changed completely in recent years, and these homes now appeal to a younger generation of buyers who have growing families and want to take advantage of nearby St John’s Wood and Primrose Hill. This demand has pushed the prices up, particularly in the past four years.
Any homes within The Regent’s Park estate, between Albany Street and Hampstead Road, sell within hours of coming on to the market, and homes in Primrose Hill attract bidders before they even reach the market.
Where are the 'hidden gems'?
While the main areas of Camden Town can get hectic, there are tucked away squares and quiet mews roads, such as Rochester Terrace, Park Village East and West, and Camden Square, where Amy Winehouse famously lived.
Homes within the Camden Town Conservation Area, taking in addesses such as St Augustine’s Road, Murray Street, Camden Mews and the North and South Villa roads can also be considered as hidden gems.
What are the best investment opportunities in the area?
As there is a huge lack of rental homes, we are always in need of more property to rent. Investors are attracted to this area because of its central location. There is constantly a high demand from renters and a low supply of available housing stock.
How is local parking?
Parking can be difficult, although the resident parking covers quite a large area so anyone that buys within Camden will find it easier. On some streets close to Camden High Street it can be a bit of a nightmare to park.
What are service charges in the area like?
Service charges can range from £1,000 up to £4,000 a year. Apartments in serviced blocks, such as Darwin Court, command the highest fees but in return are very well run.
What are your favourite viewings to show potential buyers?
When vendors put in a lot of effort and attention to detail to their home, it is nice when it is noticed and the buyer falls in love with the property. Quirky conversion properties are also fun to view.
Where would your dream property in this area be?
My list is too long. I tend to want to buy most properties I see as I am passionate about property so it would be impossible to choose just one.
Liana Loporto is the Manager at London Residential’s Camden office.