Hot Spot Bounds Green
EVEN THOUGH he knew the market as well as anyone, property adviser Adam Bourne thought he was taking a gamble when he bought a flat three years ago in Crouch End, north London, for pounds 60,000. However, he sold it recently for over pounds 150,000.

"London is a city of mini-markets in terms of property values, and I've spent years sniffing them out," says Mr Bourne, who believes that he has found another location that looks good for a repeat performance. "The Bounds Green/Bowes Park area is bountiful in choice Edwardian properties with decent gardens - larger gardens than you can find in Crouch End, for example. I tip this area for three years time."

If the name Bounds Green is familiar and Bowes Park isn't, that is probably because the former has an Underground station while the latter is a nondescript area in a nondescript part of north London. Southgate, Palmers Green, Edmonton and Wood Green are neighbouring areas.

"I chose Bounds Green because it is slowly becoming gentrified, has excellent transportation, good civic amenities and the surrounding areas are impoverished. For my purposes, this last point is positive because it will allow gentrification. And there is plenty of expansion room for shops and restaurants," says Mr Bourne.

Joanna Haydon-Knowell who handles Bounds Green from her Muswell Hill estate agency, J H-K, says: "This area is sandwiched between Bounds Green Road, which is busy, and the North Circular, which is very busy." The area has some nice houses and pretty roads, she points out. "People who cannot afford Muswell Hill look at the area the locals call Ally Pally, which is around Alexandra Park Road. Then they look at Bounds Green. The schools in the Bounds Green/Ally Pally area are quite good."

Ms Haydon-Knowell notes: "There are two sides to Bounds Green, and prices can drop quite dramatically on the side of Bounds Green Road that is away from Muswell Hill. And, of course, the closer you get to the North Circular Road, the cheaper the properties become. I am currently selling a tatty double-fronted house on the cheaper side for pounds 210,000. If it were on the other side, I could ask pounds 310,000."

The "wrong" side of Bounds Green means that you get more property for your money, or property that is in better condition. If it is not too close to the noisy North Circular, there may be nothing wrong with it at all."

Adam Bourne recalls that when he bought his Crouch End flat, "it was considered to be at the `wrong' end. This area is really Hornsey, and a few years ago people were happy to call it Hornsey, but now they refer to it as Crouch End."

He admits, though, that gentrification is not a wholly good thing: "Bounds Green currently has a sense of community, but this will be pillaged by gentrification."

And that's when it will be time to take the money and run again - to a new mini-market.

The Low-down

Properties and prices: Tony Lucas of Adam Kennedy estate agents notes that the area contains many conversions, with one-bedroom flats starting at pounds 70,000, and large three-bedroom Victorian homes with original features starting at pounds 150,000. "Because of the transportation, this area generally attracts professional couples and families." Some students at nearby Middlesex University rent in the area.

Transport: Bounds Green is on the Piccadilly Line, four stops north of Finsbury Park station, which is an interchange for the Victoria Line and overground rail into Moorgate. The Bowes Park railway station is a short walk from the Underground on a line that also links with Finsbury Park. The area is attractive to City workers.

Parks: There are a gratifyingly large number of small parks to be found dotting the south-east edge of Bounds Green Road, and a few larger ones are nearby. To the south, Alexandra Park is home to Alexandra Palace and a pub with a panoramic view of London. To the north are Arnos Park and, with several lakes and a running track, Broomfield Park. Muswell Hill golf course is also nearby.

Estate Agents: J H-K, 0181-883 5485; Adam Kennedy, 0181-881 5288; Wilkinson Byrne, 0181- 365 8900.

Boroughs: Part-Haringey, part- Enfield. The borough boundary runs just north of Bounds Green Road but cuts through the middle of Bowes Park.

Council tax: In Haringey, band A is pounds 570, and band H is pounds 1,712; in Enfield, band A is pounds 453, and band H is pounds 1,360.

Schools: Channing for girls, Highgate for boys, and Norfolk House are the alternatives to the schools run by Enfield and Haringey.

Worst aspect: The North Circular (A406).

Best aspect: The North Circular. All right, it's not really the best aspect, but it is very convenient for a nearby Tesco Superstore and for the M1 and M11. Brent Cross Shopping Centre and Ikea are also on the North Circular.

Quaint feature: The garden centre that started life as a swimming pool. The Sunshine Garden Centre is on the site of the old outdoor swimming pool (the firm's mailing address is actually The Old Swimming Pool), which was built during that bygone era when Britain had sunny summers.

Shopping: At the northerly end of Bounds Green Road you find the North Circular Road, but at the other end is Wood Green, the location of the huge Shopping City and served by Wood Green underground station (on the Piccadilly Line).