Revealed: the most popular postcodes in north London

Do super high house prices mean Hampstead has finally lost its cool?

Do super high house prices mean Hampstead has finally lost its cool? - Credit: Archant

Where are north London’s movers and shakers, and what postcodes do people prefer to stay true to? India Block puts the Royal Mail moving map data to the test

NW1 is a popular postcode, but it's not about Camden Town any more

NW1 is a popular postcode, but it's not about Camden Town any more - Credit: Archant

Redirecting your mail is one of the niggly little tasks that comes with moving house that is onerous mainly in its mundaneness.

However, remembering to switch your address turns out to be a data nerd’s delight. The dedicated posties at Royal Mail have made a fun interactive map that charts how many people moved in and out of every postcode in the UK between September 2015 and September 2016.

The result isn’t just a fun and colourful visual representation of where we like to move house to and from. Looking at the numbers is an interesting insight into which north London postcodes are going in and out of fashion.

On the surface it seems a little depressing. Every N postcode on the Ham & High patch recorded a net ‘loss’ in mail redirection, meaning more people moved out than in during 2016.

Of course, this could just mean that if you live in north London you’re more organised than the average bear.

Chore outsourcing app TaskRabbit looked at Londoners habits and deduced that residents of NW3 were the most likely to hire a personal assistant via the mobile phone app. Perhaps it was all those PAs that redirected the mail for the 1,253 households that moved out of the postcode, which saw the highest rate of defection.

Meanwhile NW1 saw the most people advertising for help to move house. With 879 households moving out and 681 moving in, that’s at least 1,580 sofas to carry up and down stairs and an untold number of cardboard boxes to pack and unpack.

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Less frivolously (not that data is ever really that shallow) the numbers seem to match up to the story told by house price indexes and land registry data.

Rightmove’s house price index for March 2017 showed house prices in the mid-priced boroughs of Outer and Greater London reach new heights. The demand is driven at least in part by people looking for homes that don’t nudge the £1.5 million mark that punts you over the eye-watering 12 per cent stamp duty threshold.

The numbers don’t lie. It’s harder than ever to live in postcode that begins with N. Even the Office of National Statistics last week calculated that to live in Camden you’d need to pay 19.6 times what you’d earn working in the borough.

Then again, we mustn’t forget that between the numbers is a very human story. There are plenty of reasons we love living here that might not show up on a graph.


Belsize Park, Hampstead

IN: 836, OUT: 1,253, - 417

Last week we challenged the Sunday Times’ declaration that Hampstead had lost out to its Heathside rival Highgate in its arbitrary popularity contest, but we may be forced to eat our words. NW3, which includes Hampstead and Belsize Park, saw 1,253 redirections out with only 836 redirections in.

It’s perhaps un-surprising given that the current average price of a semi-detached house in NW3 is over £3.5 million. On average ex NW3-ers moved 22.6 miles away, where in say, Whitwell in Hertfordshire you can get a semi for £400,000 on average. But then you wouldn’t be able to go for an amble on the Heath or a pint at the Holly Bush


St John’s Wood

IN: 836, OUT: 1,253 - 417

NW8 was neck and neck with NW3 in terms of redirection stats. The area is popular for its glamorous streets lined with red brick villas and the opening of a new outpost of the Ivy Café proves its desirability, but that comes at a cost. Perhaps St John’s Wood-ians baulking at the rising house prices, and seizing the chance to sell up and move elsewhere.


West Hampstead

IN: 946, OUT: 1,329, - 383

It seems that the residents of West Hampstead simply can’t make up their minds. NW6 recorded the highest number of redirections out last year, but also saw the most redirected in. That’s a lot of chopping and changing.


Stroud Green

IN: 568, OUT: 884 - 313

Residents of Stroud Green seem pretty adventurous. Of the 884 who waved goodbye to the N4 postcode, the average distance they moved house by was 30.9 miles, well above the UK average of 25.83. The furthest distance moved by an intrepid Stroud Green-er was 484.76 miles to Lybster, a village on the east coast of Scotland that’s best known for its declining herring fishing industry. Ah well, there are plenty more fish in the sea.


Camden Town, Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill

IN: 681, OUT: 879, - 198

NW1 has always been a popular postcode, but those in the know understand that it’s precisely where in NW1 that counts. Camden hasn’t been cool for nigh on two decades, and the Primrose his set decamped to Highgate ten years ago. Nowadays its Regent’s Park that’s the popular kid in school, with wealthy celebrities and north London downsizers moving in to the grand Nash terraces.


Muswell Hill

IN: 430, OUT: 536, - 105

It’s not surprising that those moving to Muswell Hill aren’t keen to go anywhere any time soon. They have a reputation for being a wee bit smug, but if you managed to get a family home in a catchment area for one of N10s chart topping independent schools you’d be in no rush to move either. The indie cheese and bookshops on your doorstep can’t hurt either.



IN: 376, OUT: 467, IN- 91

The writing is on the wall, Highgate is officially cooler than Hampstead. Well, if the writing was all numbers in a scene out of A Beautiful Mind. Proximity to the Heath, fractionally cheaper house prices, excellent schools and a high street packed with indie shops ensures loyalty to the N6 postcode.


Dartmouth Park, Tufnell Park

IN: 383, OUT: 473, - 90

You heard it here first, NW5 is the new N6. ‘The Parks’, as we’ve literally just decided to call Dartmouth and Tuffers collectively, have all of the perks of Highgate but all of that cool, niche appeal. Plus the houses that back on to the Heath are massive. Local celebrity Damian Lewis was last heard moaning about the lack of aethetically pleasing lampposts in the area, but if that’s all there is to gripe about no wonder residents prefer to stay put.


Hampstead Garden Suburb

IN: 376, OUT: 460, - 84

Perhaps Hampstead Garden Suburb should be renamed the Steady Suburb. NW11 saw the least movement. The area is gaining in popularity now the secret is out about its superb schools and relative bargains to be had in terms of price per square foot, but houses here don’t come cheap and only the elite can hope to trade up and move in.

Check out your postcode popularity rating here.