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In search of space: London suburbs ‘red hot’, says property research firm

Leafy suburbs are enjoying a renaissance as buyers look for bigger houses and gardens – which are being used as extra living space.

Richard Reed

London’s suburbs are “red hot” at the moment, as the post-Covid search for gardens and space continues.

While many have fled the city altogether, others are looking to leafy suburbs for the answer – staying within easy reach of the City, while enjoying a more relaxed, open-air lifestyle.

“The word ‘suburban’ used to be a bit Margo Leadbetter from The Good Life, but London’s suburbs are now red hot,” said Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search.

“Londoners who have spent the last two years in prime residential areas such as Fulham, Maida Vale and Islington are seeking space to stretch their legs, but they’re not quite ready to cross the M25.

“They’re looking to swap vertical space for lateral space; small patio gardens for large outside space with room for all the al fresco bells and whistles that have become de rigeur.”

New hotspots

Ransom says a family house in Putney recently had eight committed bidders, went to best and final offers, and achieved 10% over the asking price.

“Buyers looking for three or four bedroom houses in areas such as Putney, Dulwich, Wimbledon and Greenwich should sharpen their elbows,” she said in Stacks’ Autumn Property Trends report for London.

New hotspots include Dulwich and West Norwood in the south-east, replacing Balham and Streatham, with Wimbledon and Cobham replacing Fulham and Putney. Meanwhile Crouch End and Stoke Newington are replacing Highbury and Islington, and Walthamstow is supplanting Stoke Newington, Dalston and Hackney – all of which have become very expensive.

The move to the suburbs has depressed prices in prime central London. The extended absence of overseas buyers due to Covid has seen prices fall by as much as 10% in areas such as Notting Hill, Kensington, Knightsbridge and Holland Park.

Internal space

Being a 10-minute walk from a rail or tube station is no longer seen as critical. “GenZ have different priorities,” said Ransom. “A good walk or cycle to start and end the day is seen as a benefit.

“The premium for properties close to the tube has become very diluted; much more important is a bit more internal space, which has become a huge advantage in the days of working from home, or a tiny patch of outside space – enough to sit and enjoy the fresh air and balance a glass of wine or cup of coffee.”

And on the topic of outside space, gardens are now being seen as extended living and dining areas.

“It’s hard to spot the difference between inside and out,” added Ransom. “As much, if not more, attention is being paid to exteriors than interiors. Fittings, furnishings, lighting, cooking, dining, relaxing paraphernalia are top of everybody’s Christmas present lists.

“Barbecues are a bit last decade; kadais or fire pits are a minimum requirement and pizza ovens are no longer niche.”

October 13, 2021

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