In Their Own Words
Sun 01 Dec 2013
Thomas Crabtree, Area Director at Marsh & Parsons, South London
Born in the hospital where The Latitude building now stands in Clapham South, I spent my early years living 'between the commons'. After a few years venturing further afield than SW London, for university and travels to the Far East and Africa,I started my property career and relished the opportunity to create my own success in the area I had affectionately grown up in. Nearly a decade later, I'm still here selling property in Clapham, which has increasingly become one of London's most popular parts of town. It's been incredible to watch how much the area, and indeed the price of property, has changed in that time!
Rather than being the nondescript place associated with 'the man on the Clapham omnibus', the area has now become a vibrant and highly desirable place to live. Our Clapham office currently has 21 buyers registered for every available property, and this demand has played a huge part in pushing property prices upwards. Unlike more central parts of London where foreign investment has dominated the buying demographic, Battersea, Balham and Clapham are overwhelmingly popular amongst UK buyers, who account for 85% of all purchases. Demand from city workers, who are very often 'newly weds' that are looking for a suitable area to bring up a family are at an all time high, particularly the area known as 'between the commons', which has acquired its prestigious 'Nappy Valley' status. Equally, the traditional migration of families moving out of town to the home countries is diminishing due to increased commuter costs and the vibrant economy in the capital.
Inevitably, in recent years the increased desire for properties from these young professional families has pushed property prices through the roof. The first property I sold in 2014 was a four-bedroom house on Belmont Road for 760,000, which is now worth a staggering 1.5 million. This illustrates perfectly how many homeowners in the area have become 'accidental' property millionaires, benefiting from property price increases of roughly 10% year-on-year since 2004 - even through the recession years.
With offices straddling north and south of the river, our network of offices surrounding the common have managed to pull many buyers (usually registered with our Chelsea or two Fulham offices) across the river, due to the more reasonable price per square foot. These buyers are often more comfortable with the higher price tags, which is also contributing to the increasing property values. So, looking back over the past decade of working as an agent in Clapham, I have cinfidence that the next decade will be equally as prosperous. More home owners in the area will become 'accidental' millionaires, maybe even multi-millionaires!