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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power