When Peter Sellers said Balham was the “Gateway to the South” he was poking fun at the fact that nothing of note ever happened there. A semi-suburban no man’s land at the bottom of the Northern Line, it was the pinnacle of meh – the kind of place north Londoners probably think about when they profess never to go “south of the river”.
But after years of some of the highest house price rises in London, those who braved snobbery and placed their faith in the area are having the last laugh. “Balham’s popularity has increased quite significantly over the past few years,” says Paul Herring of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Balham branch. “And so have its property prices, which have increased by 21 per cent in the last three years alone.”
The reversal in fortunes is hardly surprising given the great transport links, surfeit of green space (Wandsworth Common, Tooting Bec Common and Clapham Common are all within walking distance) and wide selection of independent boutiques and cafes.
The yuppie influx continues to transform the area with modish shops and restaurants arriving every month. Fashionable sourdough pizza restaurant Franco Manca opened last year, and the once grotty Hildreth Street Market is now home to an independent wine shop and a handful of bijou eateries.
“Young professionals are buying their first homes, or renting in the area, while buy-to-let investors are taking advantage of the area’s popularity,” says Herring. “One bedroom flats in Balham sell for between £400,000 and £475,000, while renting the same type of property will cost around £1,500pcm. Families are also purchasing in the area, with three bedroom homes selling for around £1million, while four bedroom homes with two bathrooms can reach anywhere between £1.2million and £1.4million.”
Once seen as a poor man’s Clapham, Balham can now hold its head up as one of the most desirable areas in London. Who’s laughing now, Mr Sellers?
|Local Area Prices: Balham|
|Time to Canary Wharf||30 mins|
|Time to Liverpool Street||25 mins|
FIVE REASONS TO MOVE TO BALHAM
1 If it’s markets you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a monthly Balham Farmers Market at Balham Bowls Club, a weekly one at Chestnut School near the Tube, and Hildreth Street Market, which sells fruit, veg, household goods and some top street food.
2 There’s transport aplenty, including National Rail services at Wandsworth Common and Balham, and three Northern Line stations including Balham, Tooting Bec and Clapham South.
3 House prices are soaring. The London Property Monitor says Balham saw 21 per cent annual house price growth in the last 3 years, while upmarket areas like Kensington and Holland Park only rose by 8 per cent. And prices are set to rise another 8 per cent this year.
4 If you’ve got little ones or you’re a keen runner, then you’re spoilt for choice if you’re in the coveted “Nightingale Triangle” with Wandsworth Common on one side and Clapham Common on the other. Not to mention Balham Leisure Centre and Tooting Bec Lido are nearby.
5 There are lots of restaurants to try these days, including Lamberts for French fine dining, new hipster arrival Franco Manca, Poulet Rouge to fulfill your chicken cravings and a solid curry house in Thali & Pickles.
PRIVATE VIEW: ON THE MARKET IN BALHAM
This five bedroom, three bathroom detached family house near Streatham Hill is a short walk away from the greenery of Clapham Common. Attractive features include its three large living rooms, access to off-street parking and a separate annex with its own front door. For more information, call Foxtons Balham on 0208 772 8000 or visit foxtons.co.uk.
With seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and four living rooms, this house is especially spacious for its central location. Not far from Balham High Street, it also has three Tube stations, Balham, Tooting Bec and Clapham South less than a mile away. For more information, call Foxtons Balham on 0208 772 8000 or visit foxtons.co.uk.
Snap up this family home in the heart of the Nightingale Triangle, the name given to the desirable cross-section of streets that stretch between Wandsworth Common and Clapham Common towards Balham station in the south. This period property has three double bedrooms, a study and a south-facing rear garden. For more information, call KFH Balham on 020 8675 1123 or visit kfh.co.uk.