Watch out for the Super Suburbs. While London property prices have soared in the austerity era, the country’s most prized suburbs have quietly continued to inflate. Big houses in ample gardens, private roads and estates, country life without the mud and Harvey Nicks and the West End a quick train ride away have made key locations into 24-carat investment zones.
New research looking at the most valuable markets in England and Wales by electoral ward, reveals that a halo of areas around the capital, identified by The Sunday Telegraph as Superbia at the end of the last boom, have recovered from the slump and become millionaire enclaves. Nine Super Suburbs now have average prices of more than £1 million, of which five are in Surrey.
“Prime suburban property rose 4.7 per cent last year, and these are the only areas outside London where prices are now higher than pre-crunch,” says Lucian Cook of Savills Research, who carried out the analysis. “In some areas, where the buyer profile is similar to London, prices are more than 20 per cent above peak.” Internationals now constitute 20 per cent of buyers above £2 million in the top streets. The combination of trophy houses, security, access to London, chic restaurants and shops produces what he calls a “virtuous circle of wealth attracting wealth”.
1. OXSHOTT AND STOKE D’ABERNON, Surrey
Rise: in five years 22 per cent, over 10 122 per cent. Average house price: £1,448,713.
Roberto Bitetto, a personal trainer, and his partner have recently moved to Britain’s top suburb. They have given up a house in Chelsea and bought a two-bedroom flat in a converted historic house in Oxshott in the golden triangle between Leatherhead, Esher and Cobham. “It feels much more human here, very peaceful,” says Bitetto. He can leave home at 6am and be at work in Chelsea in half an hour.
For sale: Three-bedroom penthouse in One Oxshott, by developer Newcourt Residential (01883 621120) at £1.675 million with landscape gardens, marble staircase and communal gym.
2. COBHAM FAIRMILE, Surrey
Rise: in five years 32 per cent, over 10 111 per cent. Average house price: £1,231,726.
The plum in the commuter pie with fast trains to Waterloo and Victoria, four motorway junctions from Heathrow Airport. The ACS (Cobham International School) brings American buyers in droves. Cobham has all the golf and tennis clubs, designer boutiques and coffee shops that a super suburb could want. “The majority of buyers swap their London property for a larger one in Cobham where they can enjoy the peaceful lifestyle, access to excellent schools and to London,” says Jeremy Campbell-Harris of John D Wood.
For sale: Detached Twenties house with five bedrooms, £1.65 million, John D Wood (01932 864252).
3. VIRGINIA WATER, Surrey
Drop: in five years down 2 per cent, over 10 up 102 per cent. Average house price: £1,163,537.
“Virginia Water is known for its period country houses and bespoke modern mansions,” says Daniel Burstow of Savills. “The cachet of the Wentworth Estate and its world-famous golf courses, easy access to Heathrow and London and the international school nearby mean overseas buyers love it.
“Prime prices continue to grow and could increase by around 20 per cent over the next few years.”
For sale: Hill House in West Drive, with five bedroom suites, indoor pool and spa, buggy access to the East Course, £11 million, Savills (01344 295355).
4. GERRARDS CROSS SOUTH, Buckinghamshire
Rise: in five years 30 per cent, over 10 57 per cent. Average house price: £1,161,422.
London families in search of good schools as well as wealthy Eastern Europeans are buying here, according to Andrew Riley of Hamptons International. They love to knockdown-and-rebuild to achieve the house of their dreams.
For sale: Six-bedroom detached house in Farnham Common, £1.195 million, Hamptons International (01753 720151).
5. ST GEORGE’S HILL, Surrey
Caesar’s Cottage, St George’s Hill
Rise: in five years 51 per cent, over 10 129 per cent. Average house price: £1,140,281.
A private, secure estate like no other, gated and guarded, built as a new stockbroker belt around the golf club in 1912. Old pop stars, oligarchs and rulers-in-exile come here for peace and quiet. Russians now own about 25 per cent of the estate, which extends over 900 acres. Around half the 30 sales last year were for knock-down-and-rebuild, according to Simon Ashwell of Savills. “A new house will cost as much as the site to buy, and take up to two years to complete,” he says.
For sale: Caesars Cottage, with five bedroom suites, indoor pool, gym, cinema, £12 million, Curchods (01932 843322) and Savills (01932 838000).
6. ESHER, Surrey
Rise: in five years 10 per cent, over 10 96 per cent. Average house price: £1,129,153.
The secret of Esher’s success is its “London style with village atmosphere” according to Alex Herman of Knight Frank. Boutiques, restaurants, racing at Sandown Park, international schools – it has the lot.
For sale: Windrush, on a gated estate, with six bedrooms, £3.35 million, Knight Frank (01372 464496).
7. MOOR PARK & EASTBURY, Hertfordshire
Rise: in five years 29 per cent, over 10 66 per cent. Average house price: £1,109,969.
“Moor Park is an extremely sought-after private estate consisting of substantial modern family homes. Prices start at £1.5 million and peak at £5 million,” says Chris Ryall of Hamptons International. It also has its own Tube station on the Metropolitan Line.
For sale: Daneswood, Moor Park private estate, four bedrooms and pool, £1.65 million, Savills (01923 824225).
8. ASHRIDGE, Hertfordshire
Princes Riding, left, £1.95m in Ashbridge, Hertfordshire
Rise: in five years 65 per cent, over 10 119 per cent. Average house price: £1,030,250.
Large houses in big gardens scattered along a few roads in Henry VIII’s former hunting estate, with Berkhamsted nearby for shops and trains to London.
For sale: Princes Riding, with six bedrooms, £1.95 million, Aitchisons (01442 873901).
9. BEACONSFIELD NORTH, Buckinghamshire
Oak Knoll, Bucks
Rise: in five years 26 per cent, over 10 63 per cent. Average house price: £1,021,312.
“Many buyers say they find the commute from Beaconsfield quicker than from Chiswick or Wandsworth,” says William Furniss of Knight Frank. Trains whizz into Marylebone, there are pretty Georgian town houses, good schools and the Chilterns to walk in.
For sale: Oak Knoll with six bedrooms, £2.6 million, Knight Frank (01494 675368).
10. PILGRIMS, nr Guildford, Surrey
Rise: in five years 5 per cent, over 10, 69 per cent. Average house price: £917,257.
Sought-after villages south-west of Guildford with a quick drive into Guildford station (Waterloo 34 minutes) make this a top choice for buyers moving out of south-west London.
For Sale: Old Parsonage, five bedrooms, in Shackleford, £1.695 million, Savills (01483 796820).