Who knows the inside track on Britain's prime addresses? The long-standing local agents – of course – so each week we pin a different one down for an insider's walk around their manor.
This week: Jeremy Best of John D Wood
Where: Nappy Valley – better known as Wandsworth Common, south London
Sitting in Café L’Armandine, by Wandsworth train station, it isn’t obvious this area is a renowned yummy mummy hang-out. My only companions are a couple of hooded teens, though the fact they’re asking for pannini and lattes tells you all you need to know.
Outside, dog walkers take advantage of the expanse of Wandsworth Common but there’s no sign of the pushchair brigade that give this corner of SW18 the nickname Nappy Valley.
It’s true, Wandsworth is very popular with young families,” says Jeremy Best (pictured, right), as we cross the common. “They like this area because it has green space and good schools.”
Turning up a small path, we enter a peaceful grid of streets, fronted by large, pretty homes with wisteria-clad walls, sash-and-shutter windows, and pretty covered porches. This is the pinnacle of Wandsworth property, an elegant enclave of six streets adjacent to the common.
Called the Toast Rack, because it resembles the shape, detached Victorian houses here are popular and priced accordingly. “These houses are sought after by bankers, lawyers and media people,” says Jeremy.
To get in, you’ll need at least £1.8m for something with four bedrooms wanting updating. More usually you’ll be paying from £2m to £3.5m. Jeremy currently has a beautifully decorated four-bed detached on Henderson Road for £2.3m (pictured below).
Statesman David Lloyd George lived at No.3 Routh Road in the early 1900s (the house has a blue plaque) but today the Toast Rack’s most famous resident is probably property expert Phil Spencer.
Those who can’t afford the Toast Rack go for Trinity Road, where Victorian semis start at about £1.5m. Many are in the process of being converted from flats back to single homes and Jeremy is representing number 258 (pictured, bottom), a glorious five-bed with many original features, for £1.95m.
Traffic on Trinity Road (otherwise known as the A214) is a real problem. It’s so noisy Jeremy quickly escorts me across to a series of quiet, tree-lined avenues known as the Magdalen Estate. “This area is good for families because it has great houses with nice gardens and several decent state schools.”
The estate offers a mix of attractive semis and terraces dating mainly from the 1920s and 1930s. Prices range from £950,000 for a three-bedroom renovation project to £2.5m. “There’s a hierarchy,” says Jeremy. “Working down from Lyford Road, where you get Edwardian villas with views of the common for around £3m, prices fall to around £1m as you move towards Ellerton Road, which is less popular because it’s busier.”
“There aren’t enough family homes at the moment,” comments Jeremy, as he shows me 43 Ellerton Road, a nice five-bed, bay-windowed terrace for sale at £1.15m (pictured, right). “They sell as fast as we get them.”
Wandsworth is somewhere people trade up to. “They start off renting in Clapham or Battersea before buying their first home here in the village,” says Jeremy. He’s referring to so-called Bellevue Village, a residential corner with smart boutiques and restaurants, near the station.
In Nottingham and Wiseton Roads, tucked just off Bellevue Road, we examine cosy Victorian ‘cottages’. These two-beds sell from £650,000 and are a favourite with young couples.
For larger period homes it’s a short stroll to Balham Park Road, which offers attractive double-fronted Edwardian villas, several of which back onto common land (though some back onto the railway). Many have been converted to maisonettes, with two-beds costing from around £375,000 to £450,000.
Working back via Sarsfeld Road, Jeremy shows me narrow streets full of double-parked cars and more well-preserved Edwardian semis. There are also a lot of traditional ex-council and new-build blocks, which give people on lower budgets the chance to buy. “The base figure is £250,000 for a one-bedroom,” says Jeremy, “so it’s popular with first timers.”
As we cross Sarsfeld Road, a well-coiffed blonde driving a 4x4 narrowly avoids us. “Chelsea Tractors are a real bane in this area,” gripes Jeremy as my sole yummy mummy heads into the distance.
John D Wood www.johndowood.co.uk tel: 020 8871 3033