Property insider: Kentish Town, NW5

James Rowe of Keatons guides us through Kentish Town's best streets and hidden property gems.
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Kelly Street, NW5
Pretty, pastel-coloured homes line Kelly Street in NW5
Grand Victorian houses, period conversions and charming Georgian cottages are all part of the tempting mix for homebuyers starting their search in Kentish Town.

This pocket of north-west London is close to popular schools, Hampstead’s open spaces and the buzz of Camden Town. There are plenty of independent shops along the bustling high street, as well as a thriving local arts scene and a good choice of pubs and bars.

Find properties for sale in Kentish Town.

Kentish Town extends west to Belsize Park and Chalk Farm, south-east to Camden Town and north to Tufnell Park. Central London is within an easy commute via the Northern line Tube network and frequent local bus services. Trains to Luton and Gatwick airports depart from the Kentish Town West mainline railway station, with Gospel Oak, Belsize Park and Chalk Farm stations also nearby.

Local estate agent James Rowe of Keatons in Kentish Town has worked in this pocket of north-west London for more than 13 years. He describes the area as "the grown-up cousin of neighbouring Camden Town. It has become an urban oasis with a mix of professionals and families. It has excellent schools, fantastic transport links and still has a strong attraction to creatives."

What properties are typical to the area?
Kentish Town does not have a typical property. There are many Victorian flat conversions in the area, but there is also a good mix of Victorian housing, ranging from small cottages and two-bedroom properties to grand, four-storey Victorian villas as large as 3,000sq ft. There are also some pretty Georgian houses on Leighton Road to the north and Kelly Street to the south.

Which buyers are attracted to the area?
Professionals, families and creative-types wanting spacious period accommodation close to good schools, parks and central London.

What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
For large family homes the hottest roads are in the Bartholomew Conservation area, south of Kentish Town and to the east of the high street. Patshull and Bartholomew Roads have three- to four-storey homes in excess of 2,200sq ft, while the houses in Bartholomew Villas are only slightly smaller and are very pretty. These roads are also within the catchment area of the highly-rated Camden School for Girls.

One- and two-bedroom garden conversions close to the Tube station are also very sought-after at the moment, including Leighton Grove, Leverton Street, Falkland Road and Lady Margaret Road. The west of Kentish town is extremely popular with those wanting to be close to the new L'ile aux enfants French school in Vicar’s Road.

Where are the 'hidden gems'?
The streets around Malden Road and Queen's Crescent Market - one of London's oldest street markets - to the west of Kentish town have become increasingly popular. The area has early-Victorian houses and a good mix of local authority buildings, and although this is a more bustling, urban area, it borders onto the sought-after neighbourhoods of Belsize Park and Chalk Farm. Buyers are now specifically looking in this area as they want to be as close to Hampstead Heath and Belsize Park as possible.

The Inkerman Conservation area offers good-value houses in pretty roads close to the high street and the new French School.

What are the best investment opportunities in the area?
The lettings market has a fast turnover in this area, with record prices currently being achieved. In particular, three- to four-bedroom local authority properties throughout Kentish Town are extremely popular with landlords looking to rent to the students of University College of London (UCL). They are good-value properties and rental returns are extremely good.

One- and two-bedroom converted flats are also very popular with established investors seeking a good balance between capital appreciation and rental yields.

How is local parking?
All of the local area is residents’ parking, however the council is getting stricter on issuing permits for new developments.

What are service charges in the area like?
Typically service charges in the area range from £350 a year for local authority period conversions, to between £1,000-£1,200 for a privately-owned converted flat. With council-owned freeholds, most leaseholders will be liable to pay for ‘raising the standard’ improvements to the building. These bills can be anywhere from £3,000 to £15,000, depending on the level and nature of work.

What are your favourite viewings to show potential buyers?
The garden maisonettes converted from the lower two floors of the grand Victorian villas to the east of Kentish Town Road. The rooms are large and often enriched with period features.

If money were no object, where would you buy in this area?
The pretty cottages in Alma Street (left) or on the first floor of one of the apartments with high ceilings in the polytechnic conversion on Prince of Wales Road.

James Rowe is the Sales Manager at Keatons in Kentish Town.

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