Buy into conservation hotspots: Why it’s worth investing in a historical home

 
Melissa York
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As London’s housing crisis rumbles on, more and more shiny skyscrapers are shooting up. If you find this state of affairs rather unseemly – un-British, even – then buying a home in a conservation area is worth considering.
Designated by local authorities for their special architectural or historical interest, there are currently over 8,000 of them in England and 56 in the borough of Westminster alone.
Created in 1967, they’re a preservation tool that takes the form of planning restrictions specific to each area and local authority, covering anything from cladding to satellite dishes, from solar panels to conservatories.
And it has an effect on house prices in these areas; according to the only research into the matter carried about by the London School of Economics in 2012, homes in conservation areas can command premiums of up to nine per cent and the growth rate of house prices in these areas are 0.2 per cent above the national average.
Richard Barber, director at prime central London estate agency W.A. Ellis, thinks there’s serious potential to be had by investing in a conservation site, too. “The preservation of properties within these areas means that there is uniformity and houses retain their original character, which can be very attractive to potential buyers.
“Although properties in these areas are not as strictly protected as Listed ones, planning restrictions mean that it is more difficult for buildings that are not in keeping with the local architecture – blocks of flats, for example – to get planning permission, further adding to the appeal for many.”
So what are you waiting for? Here’s what you can get for your money in a round-up of some of the most impressive properties currently on the market in London’s conservation areas.


THE PARK COLLECTION, WOODBERRY DOWN

The reservoirs of N4 are a relatively well-kept London secret and this new development by Berkeley Homes overlooks the East Reservoir conservation area. Three mid-to-low rise buildings will house 180 studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments in Zone Two next to over 42 acres of open water.
Due for completion in 2017. Studios available from £365,000. Call 0208 985 9918 or visit woodberry-down.co.uk.


ALEXANDER PLACE, SOUTH KENSINGTON

If you like your houses traditional, then this early Georgian terraced house may be right up your street. Completely unmodernised and Grade-II listed, it commands around 1,900sqft of space across three floors and it has an unusually large south-west facing garden. With space for five bedrooms, it’s flexible enough to mould into your dream family home.
Available for £3.95m. Call W.A. Ellis on 020 7306 1600.


ROSENDALE ROAD, HERNE HILL

This quaint collection of two bedroom apartments and two bedroom cottages is on the revitalised Rosendale Estate in the leafy south London area of Herne Hill. They’re designed to blend in with the existing Edwardian and Victorian architecture but with modern additions; the apartments have private balconies and the cottages have turfed lawns and timber picket fencing.
Apartments start at £490,0000 and cottages at £650,000. Call 020 3369 8670.


ALDWYCH CHAMBERS, THE STRAND

Just 20 residences are on sale in this collection in The Strand conservation area. In hearing distance of St Clementine’s church, with its chimes of “oranges and lemons”, there are one to three bedroom apartments on sale as well as four bedroom penthouses.
One bedroom apartments on sale from £865,000. Call CBRE on 020 7420 3033 or JLL on 020 7087 5111 or visit aldwychchambers.com.


DEVONSHIRE DRIVE, GREENWICH

This mid-Victorian semi-detached house is set in the Ashburnham conservation area in Greenwich. With three reception rooms, it’s a great entertaining and family house. It has five bedrooms and three bathrooms spread across three floors and a south-facing garden to the rear. Interesting architectural features include Gothic entrance columns and bay windows with boxed eaves.
Available freehold for £1.4m. Call JLL on 020 8858 9986.

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