Property Hot Spot - St John's Wood, North London: The Lord's prairie

The streets of one part of London are paved with gold.

For a brownfield site this one is always green, and not much happens there even when much is happening - but Lord's Cricket Ground is not for sale. More amenable to serious offers were the owners of the large automobile showroom and garage directly opposite Lord's on St John's Wood Road. Pavilion Apartments, a large luxury apartment block, is rapidly rising on that site.

"The presence of so many mansion blocks in this area indicated high demand for flats, and nothing of this size, stature and quality had been built in St John's Wood for many years," explains Ira Rapp, the chief executive of Westcity Properties, the Pavilion developer.

All but two of the 122 flats rapidly sold off plan, and Rapp credits the quality of the building in addition to location: "Our buyers have been a general mix of investors, owner occupiers, members of the international set buying a second or third home and people with large houses trading down but only to quality space. Pavilion will lift the area, it will actually put St John's Wood on the map in terms of residential housing for the next millennium."

Three times as many flats will replace redundant railroad sidings adjacent to Marylebone Station at Rossmore and Park Roads. Barratt's pounds 100m Prince Regent's Gate development comprises four curved and attached apartment buildings containing 385 units, most with balconies or terraces. Each building is stepped, with penthouses on five levels enjoying unobstructed double or even treble aspects.

Inner London's first suburban residential area, St John's Wood was built up in the 1820s and 1830s on land of which much had been owned by the Eyre family since the middle ages. Harrow School was another large landowner. Despite its parochial name, St John's Wood is home to one major and several smaller synagogues and the Central Mosque - one of London's largest. Another ingredient in this melting pot is the student body at the American School, in Loudoun Road.

Estate agent JAC Strattons specialises in "the lower end of St John's Wood, which means flats and houses up to pounds 750,000", says Sajjad Hoque, the joint branch manager. "Prices have risen hugely since the beginning of this year. A one-bed flat selling for pounds 120,000 in January is now asking pounds 138,000. That flat would have sold for pounds 105,000 last year, and pounds 60,000 two years ago."

Belinda Lyster-Binns, of Cluttons Daniel Smith, confirms this trend, "especially since March, with rises at about 15 per cent for the year. People are selling up and moving within this area, and the buyers are a mix of City executives, property professionals and media and entertainment people".

Properties requiring updating are no longer at the bottom of the pile. "Unmodernised premises are selling very well, with buyers much keener to put their own stamp on property," says Ms Lyster-Binns. "One unmodernised house recently had 14 sealed bids and sold for more than the asking price."

The Low-Down

Transport: For much of St John's Wood, Baker Street and Marylebone Stations are more convenient than the eponymous Jubilee Line station which is on the northern edge of the area.

Prices: Prince Regent's Gate prices range from pounds 235,000 to pounds 1m plus (a few months ago, the price range was pounds 210,000-pounds 895,000). A seven-figure penthouse is one of 80 sold in the first phase. The development, which has a fitness suite and swimming pool exclusively for residents, will be ready for occupation next spring. Completion will be in 2002. Pavilion Apartments has a large three-bedroom flat with balcony for pounds 605,000, and a duplex penthouse for pounds 1.8m. The tradesman's entrance into St John's Wood is via ex-council or housing association flats, which can shave 25 per cent off the price of equivalent private stock.

Council tax: Band D in low-tax Westminster is pounds 350 for 1999/2000, up from pounds 325.

Breaking the leasehold stranglehold: Recent changes in the law mean that many St John's Wood houses are now sold as freeholds or enfranchiseable leaseholds. Knight Frank is currently selling two 62-year leasehold houses. 23 Norfolk Road is a 2,916 sq ft villa with an 80ft-by-31ft garden and a pounds 1.75m price tag. Much grander is the grade II listed Cavendish Close, covering nearly half an acre, with astroturf tennis court, six bedrooms, gym with sauna, separate one-bedroom flat on the lower ground floor, separate double garage and enfranchiseable Eyre estate lease. Price on application.

Preserving the best: The St John's Wood conservation area meanders along St John's Wood Road, Hamilton Terrace, Boundary Road and Avenue Road, squiggling to include an area to the south and east and exclude one or two to the west. The area boasts more than 450 listed buildings, including many of grade II* calibre.

Anyone for real tennis? In 1866, pounds 18,333, 6s, 8d was a tidy sum, but the peripatetic Marylebone Cricket Club was eager to settle down. Its latest home was in Regent's Park, but "the new Regent's Canal was to be cut right through the playing area", notes the MCC's curator, Stephen Green. A freehold property became available, and MCC emissary Thomas Lord signed on the dotted line. In the 1830s, "real or royal tennis was introduced to Lord's and has been played there ever since," says Mr Green.

Contacts: Cluttons Daniel Smith: 0171-586 5863; JAC Strattons: 0171- 724 4499; Pavilion: 0171-286 8080; Prince Regent's Gate: 0171-723 2742; Knight Frank: 0171 431 8686.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Test Lead (C#, Java, HTML, SQL) Kingston Finance

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Access/Teradata Developer, Banking, Bristol £400pd

£375 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Access / Teradata Developer - Banking - Bristol -...

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home