If you went down to Southfields today, you’d be in for a big surprise. Buying London property is hardly a teddy bear’s picnic at the best of times, but as buyers rush to the leafier outskirts in search of more affordable property, outer boroughs that were once overlooked are finding they’re in high demand.
London house prices have slowed down recently due to a few consensual factors – including stamp duty reform and the EU referendum – but there are a few exceptions to this rule, and Southfields is a glaring one.
According to Douglas & Gordon’s quarterly property report, “Southfields is the best performing suburb in emerging prime London. Property prices are up by over four per cent for the first quarter of 2016, and three bedroom houses in the area are up five per cent. This is in comparison to the overall emerging prime market, which was down 0.19 per cent and the prime central market, which was down 0.92 per cent.”
But why is this south west London outlier suddenly so popular? Usually, it gears up for just two weeks in the year, as the home of the All England Lawn Tennis Club or, as it’s better known, Wimbledon. In fact, the tube station is thematically decorated every year to welcome the thousands of visitors that pass through and many small businesses extend their opening hours to take advantage of the rush.
The rest of the time, it has a sleepy village feel with a residential district known locally as The Grid, a series of parallel, tree-lined roads that cross at right angles. This area is almost made up entirely of Edwardian terraced houses that are popular with families wanting to raise their children in a greener environment with better schools. With competition for primary school places fierce in London, getting in the catchment area of Riversdale and Sheringdale – both graded Outstanding by Ofsted – is a high priority for many.
Its proximity to local independent shops and an array of good public spaces is also proving attractive. Rupert Greig, sales manager at Foxtons’ nearby Earlsfield office says, “Local shops include the Chanteroy, which in my humble opinion provides the best French baguettes outside of Paris, while DeRosier Chocolate & Coffee offers delicious homemade chocolates and artisan coffee.
“The area is also bordered by the fantastic Wimbledon Park; one of London’s few parks to still permit barbecues within its boundaries, the park offers everything from water fountains and crazy golf to beach volley ball and a boating lake.”
So on your way to Wimbledon this year, make sure you glance in at the local estate agents’ windows – it might be very worth your while.
House prices: Source: Zoopla
Transport: Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 41 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 45 mins
Nearest train station: Southfields
Best Roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive: Girdwood Road – average house price: £1.148m
Best Value: Burghley Hall Close – average house price: £270,346
The Championships at Wimbledon is obviously a big annual highlight, but there’s loads to enjoy the rest of the year, too. Pub-wise, The Earl Spencer won the “Bib Gourmand” from the MIchelin Guide in 2015 for its great value menu, and The Park Tavern is a 19th century coaching inn with a great landscaped garden. The Olive Garden is a popular local Italian, wile Le P’tit Normand is a relaxed local bistro. It even has a branch of Franco Manca, a sign of an up-and-upcoming area if ever there was one. As for shops, Chanteroy is a specialist French delicatessan, while The Village Butcher does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s also a weekly farmers market in the grounds of Wimbledon Park School. The Gym London Southfields also opened up next to the tube station last year. Art lovers should check out The Cabin Gallery, which specialises in emerging artists, and Southfields Gallery, which sells modern art.