Sitting on the southern banks of the Thames and with access to acres of green open space, Wandsworth offers families the chance to buy a home with plenty of room that is only a short commute from central London and the City.
Singles and couples tired of apartment living cross the bridge from Chelsea, Fulham and Knightsbridge to find bigger, good-value homes with large gardens in Wandsworth, Battersea and Clapham.
They find ever-improving transport links and an impressive choice of state and private schools. Large period houses, charming cottages and rows of smart Victorian terraces sit between Wandsworth and Clapham Commons but as the area’s popularity grows, homes are becoming harder to find.
According to Robin Chatwin of Savills - who has worked in this area for almost 25 years: “there is a shortage of homes to accommodate the people wishing to move into the area as it becomes more and more popular.”
He says Wandsworth is currently attracting an influx of buyers from central London and abroad at the top end of the market, first-time buyers looking to get on to the ladder and locals looking around for buy-to-let investments.
Chatwin attributes the area’s growing popularity to first-class transport links, with easy access to Clapham Junction mainline station – the busiest train station in the capital – as well as Wandsworth Common railway station, Wandsworth Town railway station, Tube services from the three Clapham stations (Clapham North, Clapham Common and Clapham South) via the Northern line and frequent bus services to the City and the West End.
Wandsworth residents will also benefit from the planned Northern line extension from Kennington to Battersea - possibly continuing on eventually to Clapham Junction - which could be open by 2015. A new station at Nine Elms on Wandsworth Road has also been proposed.
“This extension, along with the American Embassy moving in to the area, is already having a big impact on the people wanting to move to Battersea and property prices,” says Chatwin.
A long and impressive list of state and private schools are another big draw. Chatwin says: “The number of schools in the area has grown over the past 20 years and now there are state and private schools of the highest standard. The new secondary school on Bolingbroke Grove will give people even more reason to stay in the area for longer.”
What properties are typical to the area?
There are large Victorian houses on the western edge of Wandsworth Common in East Hill, and an area known as the "Toast Rack" has some of the most expensive townhouses in London (prices range from £1.5 million to £6.5 million). The Tonsleys - a collection of streets sharing Tonsley as part of their name - has smaller Victorian terrace houses and cottages close to Wandsworth Town train station. Warehouse conversions and modern apartments are dotted along the riverbank and there are also new-build developments around St John's Hill. Ex-council flats and more affordable homes can be found towards the bottom of East Hill.
Who is buying here?
The schools, open spaces and improved transport links for the area make it ideal for people looking for a long-term base without having to move out of London. As well as first-time buyers and families, this area is also attracting overseas investors from countries such as Greece, Italy and Russia.
What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
The homes overlooking Battersea Park in Prince of Wales Drive are extremely popular. Homes near Spencer Park – a private green space – are also sought after, as are homes near Northcote Road and between Clapham and Wandsworth Commons. Albion Wharf and Montevetro have modern apartments and river views.
The “Tonsleys” streets are in high demand (prices range from £850,000 up to £1.4 million), as well as the three- and four-bedroom terrace houses within the Nightingale Triangle – the area bounded by Ravenslea Road, Nightingale Lane and Balham High Road. Average prices here are between £800,000 and £1.5 million.
Where are the 'hidden gems'?
The Heaver Estate has large Victorian houses built on the grounds of Old Bedford Hill House, close to Tooting Bec Common. The Magdalen Estate, off Trinity Road, has tree-lined streets of exceptionally large family homes with big gardens, which are close to popular schools. Average prices here range from £1 million up to £5 million.
What are the best investment opportunities in the area?
Two- and three-bedroom flats which are close to good transport links, especially Clapham Junction. Flats near Battersea Park always sell and rent quickly.
How is local parking?
Almost every street has residents parking, generally for two hours a day although this varies throughout the borough.
What are service charges in the area like?
Wandsworth has the lowest council tax in the UK. Service charges vary depending on the size of the property. At luxury riverside developments, such as Albion or Montevetro, the annual fees can range from £10,000-£12,000 for a 2,000 sq ft apartment.
Where would your dream home be in this area?
I would be torn between a house on Spencer Park or one of the houses overlooking Clapham or Wandsworth Commons.
Robin Chatwin is the Director of Residential Property at Savills in Wandsworth
All properties are available at time of publication