It is no wonder that there’s a long list of homebuyers patiently waiting in the wings for the perfect family house in West Hampstead.
This north-west London neighbourhood has streets lined with charming Victorian houses and smart and spacious mansion flats, plus it has good schools and, along bustling West End Lane, a vibrant mix of cafés, bakeries and quirky independent shops.
There is a strong villagey feel about the place but West Hampstead’s proximity to the vast wild acres of Hampstead’s famous heath is also a big draw for homebuyers.
Convenient transport links into the City and Canary Wharf add to this area’s appeal for busy working families and young professionals alike. Commuters have a huge choice of options including the overground Thameslink and Silverlink lines, The London Overground trains, a good choice of Tube lines and regular bus routes.
Local estate agent James Ripp, of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, says "West Hampstead is a vibrant area with a villagey atmosphere. The residents are a social bunch with a lively community spirit, so this part of London offers the best of both worlds."
What properties are typical to the area?
Mainly Victorian houses, conversions and mansion flats, with a smattering of Thirties and Sixties properties.
Which buyers are attracted to the area?
Generally young professionals and City workers due to the convenient transport links. Families also flock to West Hampstead for the good schools, balanced lifestyle and to live near the green spaces of Hampstead Heath. We have also seen a lot more foreign investors buying in this area over the past year, mainly Russian and Chinese buyers making long-term investments or purchasing a pied-à-terre.
What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
The BAM estate - which takes in Buckingham Mansions in West End Lane; Avenue Mansions in Finchley Road; and Marlborough Mansions in Cannon Hill - has lovely Victorian blocks of spacious, lateral apartments that have huge square footage – some can measure up to 2,000sq ft – and have immaculate communal gardens. The three-bedroom flats are really popular with families and professionals.
There is currently a waiting list of people who are looking to buy a family home in this area – they know what they want and they are willing to wait. The Greek roads, including Achilles, Agamemnon, Ulysses and Narcissus Roads, have big houses that are popular.
The large apartments between Finchley Road and West End Lane are hugely popular with professional couples and some families, particularly on roads such as Fawley Road, Lymington Road and Crediton Hill. Homes within the South Hampstead conservation areas, taking in Compayne Gardens and Greencroft Gardens, are also very sought-after.
Where are the 'hidden gems'?
Homebuyers can get more for their money around Brondesbury Park and Mapesbury Road, where there are some beautiful properties not far from Queen’s Park - an area that has really boomed over the past couple of years.
What are the best investment opportunities?
In terms of investments, it really depends on what buyers are looking for. If it is a long-term investment, then central West Hampstead is a great location where you will get a lower yield, with higher growth over time. Prices here are higher due to the convenience of central amenities and the transport links. On the other hand, Cricklewood will get a higher yield in the short term but less growth in the long term.
How is local parking?
Residents' permits are easy to obtain. The roads get busier and less accessible the closer to the station you get.
What are service charges in the area like?
Mansion blocks have slightly higher service charges due to the maintenance of communal gardens, lifts and on-site porters. Conversions are generally cheaper, however this depends on the managing agents and leaseholders.
What are your favourite viewings to show potential buyers?
The buyers make the viewings. I love it when I have an interested buyer who has done their homework, are focused, know what they want and are decisive when viewing properties.
If money were no object, where would you buy in this area?
My personal preference would be to buy a property on Crediton Hill, where houses are beautiful, with off-street parking and lovely views over tennis courts.
James Ripp is the Sales Manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward's West Hampstead office
All featured properties are available at time of publication