The inexorable rise of the £10million street in Hampstead and Highgate
CCTV cameras watch your every move, patrolling guards keep an eye out for intruders and an electric gate prevents non-residents from getting in.
Trying to walk down Courtenay Avenue in Highgate is like trying to pop into the Chinese Embassy for a quick chat. And, as the security guard is only too keen to point out to me, there’s no way I’ll be allowed in to ask the residents what it’s like to live there.
According to a new list compiled by property website Zoopla, an average home in Courtenay Avenue will cost £10,750,336, making it the fourth most expensive street in Britain.
Situated next door to the £5,825-a-term Highgate School, and opposite Kenwood House, the road is 200 yards from the country’s fifth priciest street, Compton Avenue, where a house will cost you £10,006,014.
Over the past year, house prices in these two Highgate streets have risen by close to £200,000, which is just under the cost of an average home in this country.
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Walk up Hampstead Lane, past the Spaniards Inn pub, and down Heath Street, and you will come to the nation’s seventh most expensive street, Frognal Way.
Home to the art deco house built by entertainer Gracie Fields in 1934 and minutes from Hampstead Heath, to live here you will need at least £9.4million to buy a home.
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Without a security guard to track my every move I am able to ask resident Mabel Lee, 51, how she feels about living in Frognal Way.
Mrs Lee, originally from New York, has lived in Hampstead for 17 years. Her two children attend Channing High School and the independent University College School across the road from Frognal Way.
“It’s lovely around here,” she said. “Everyone knows each other. People tend to live here for a long time.”
Populated by recession-proof shops selling Italian tiles and works of art, the Boots in the high street is marble-fronted, while the pub, The Horsehoe, serves a soft shell crab burger for £16 as the daily special when I walk by.
All the streets in Zoopla’s top 10 are in London, with Kensington Palace Gardens, the so-called “boulevard of billionaires”, topping the list with house prices in excess of £38m.
Both NW3 and N6 are among the most expensive areas to live, with homes in these postcodes costing more than £1m on average.
Although the country is still gripped by economic uncertainty and many young people struggle to make it on to the housing ladder, the luxury market is holding up as Mohammad Farhadi, 39, senior lettings negotiator at Abbey Properties acknowledges.
Based in Swiss Cottage, the company deals mainly with properties in the St John’s Wood and Hampstead areas.
It recently sold a property for £4.8m in West Hampstead and with money flooding in from overseas, sales are booming.
Mr Farhadi said: “Our profit this month alone has been £100,000 because of sales.
“But with rentals it’s completely the opposite. There’s a lot of properties on the market, and a lot of people are being made redundant.
“The majority of buyers are investors looking to buy a whole block, make them into flats and then rent them out.
“The majority are English, but we are getting a lot of Chinese buyers, people from Hong Kong, and also a lot of Russians and Middle Eastern people too.”