Comment: NW3, setting property trends since 1800 (or thereabouts)

The luxury Kensal Green property with the �10m price tag (Pic: Foxtons)

The luxury Kensal Green property with the �10m price tag (Pic: Foxtons) - Credit: Archant

As a £10m home in Kensal Green causes a furore online, we ask when a similarly priced property would have last made waves in Hampstead.

The moment when you realise your neighbourhood crosses over from on-the-up to really-quite-posh can be jarring. Witness the response on social media to our story last week about a £10million church conversion on the market in Kensal Green.

Those NW10 dwellers who had been proudly proclaiming for years that their neighbourhood was a bit rough and ready and that they’re on first name terms with the drug dealer on the corner, have now found themselves rebranded as “North Kensington residents” in classic euphemistic estate agent parlance.

“Madness!” “It’s overpriced”, “Ridiculous price”, and “No parking space?!” ran our feed for the next 24 hours as Kensal Rise’s scruffier neighbours realised they live in the eye of the next luxury development storm.

Just imagine anyone doing more than bat their eyelids and shrug if we ran a story about a similarly priced property in Hampstead.

But when did Hampstead make the transition to multimillion pound enclave?

A little light bedtime reading suggests that it was long before 1956 at any rate. In Here Be Dragons by Stella Gibbons published in that year, one character even says “I’m interested in properties in Hampstead; I’m going to buy all I can. They’re a wonderful investment. Always good to let or sell.” Out of context those words sound like they’re straight out of the mouth of a local estate agent yesterday, not a character in a 60-year-old book.

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Hampstead may no longer be the place to live if you want to see emerging trends on a daily basis (edgy art students tend to need cheaper digs than can be found in NW3) but it can boast an early adoption of gentrification.

The artists moved in around the turn of the 19th century, the slums were cleared about 100 years later and rising rents forced the remaining low income households out to West Hampstead, Kilburn and Gospel Oak not long after that.

One look at the spacious Belle Epoque houses that dominate the area shows that by the early 20th century it had reached more or less the phase Kensal Green’s at now.

At 100 years ahead of the curve, in this respect at least, Hampstead’s a trendsetter indeed.