As London opened up after the first national lockdown, Amy Tickner discovered the riverside cottages and pubs during a walk along the towpath in Chiswick. She was instantly taken by the idea of living by the water instead of in her one-bedroom flat in Wandsworth, south London. With her boyfriend, Ron, she bought a three-bedroom Victorian house one road back from the Thames in October.
“It is a breath of fresh air,” says the 33-year-old, who works in marketing. “We run most mornings with head torches along the towpath from Kew Bridge up to Barnes Bridge and bike to nearby Richmond Park at weekends.”
An amalgamation of four ancient villages north of the river, Chiswick is an affluent suburb of west London. Its Victorian and Edwardian housing stock attracts families looking for green spaces and a laid-back feel 20 minutes from the West End, a trend augmented by the pandemic.
By the end of 2020, the average price of a sold property in Chiswick’s W4 postcode passed the £1m mark for the first time to reach £1,015,440, according to Land Registry data compiled by Hamptons, up from £933,980 in 2019. Despite the seven-week market shutdown of 2020, Hamptons’ analysis of Countrywide data shows that agreed sales were up 14 per cent on 2019.
Many of these sales were to upsizers looking for more space, whether moving from central London to Chiswick, or selling flats in Chiswick to move further west, says David Hill of agent Marsh & Parsons. In areas such as Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, he says, buyers could afford to upsize to a three-bedroom house for the price of their Chiswick flat. “We were inundated with flats — priced at between £400,000 and £700,000 — in August and September,” he says.
Upsizing in Chiswick are Laylah Holmes and husband Matt, looking for a four to five-bedroom house with a £1.5m budget. Having had a second daughter in May, they are selling their three-bedroom house close to the river for £925,000.
“After a Sunday pub lunch on the towpath five years ago we fell in love with the little house that needed lots of work,” says the founder of rug company Holmes Bespoke. “This part of Chiswick feels nicely cut off from the rest.”
Aside from the odd exceptional waterfront property, homes in the Strand-on-the-Green area are not generally the most expensive in Chiswick. There’s a higher premium in some of the streets close to Turnham Green Tube, on the border of Zones 2 and 3; and to Chiswick High Road, the main street of shops, restaurants, says Hill.
An open-air flower market briefly appeared in the area in September, before having to close until April 12 (or whenever easing of restrictions allows), and an independent cinema, the Chiswick, is due to open later this year.
Four-bedroom houses near Turnham Green cost £1.2m-£1.6m, Hill estimates, while those nearer the river and Chiswick Park Tube cost £1m-£1.25m. Also close to the High Road is popular state school, Belmont primary, and independents such as Chiswick & Bedford Park prep and Heathfield House.
A pocket of larger housing stock is the Bedford Park conservation area — where Arts and Crafts red-brick houses were built in a garden suburb in the 1870s; while the area of Grove Park near the neo-Palladian Chiswick House estate offers houses with bigger gardens.
Buyers who need to get to the City or Canary Wharf for work often favour this riverside stretch due to the proximity to Chiswick station, says Phillip Cannon of Riverhomes, an agency specialising in properties near the Thames. “Families — a lot more of whom own dogs now — like being able to walk along the river, doing a towpath loop between Kew and Chiswick Bridges.”
Lara Rodgers, 27, who runs baby food business Lune + Wild, moved to the area in 2019 from Bruton in Somerset.
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“Chiswick seemed a great step back into London life,” she says. “Independent food shops of Turnham Green Terrace — like Lemon & Limes the greengrocer, and Macken Brothers Butchers — are favourites. There’s talk of a cheese market coming to Chiswick,” she adds, referring to the recent application to Hounslow council to run a market on the third and fourth Sunday of every month.
Rather apt for a place whose name derives from “cheese farm”, and held an annual cheese fair on Dukes Meadows until the 18th century.
Chiswick is in the London Borough of Hounslow; the annual council tax for homes in the middle (D) band is £1,607.02
Chiswick is on the District and Piccadilly Underground lines and the Overground (Turnham Green, Chiswick Park and Gunnersbury stations), and National Rail into London Waterloo (25 minutes)
In the past decade the average price in Chiswick (W4) has increased from £615,040 in 2010, to £1,015,440 in 2020, according to the Land Registry
What you can buy for . . .
£475,000 A two-bedroom flat near Chiswick station, through Whitman and Co.
£1.4m A three-bedroom terraced house on Grove Park Terrace a short walk from the Thames. Available with Riverhomes
£3.25m A six-bedroom Grade II-listed house in Bedford Park, through Savills
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