Dulwich or Balham?

(52 Posts)
Honesttodog Sat 16-Feb-13 22:15:17

trying to find a family home which we will be in for 10 yrs or more.

We want to be on heaver estate in balham but have been to see a gorgeous house in east dulwich today and now I think i prefer dulwich.

Balham has great connections as you have tube and train, but is a bit dull for me, not that many great cafes or restaurants. Lavish habit is the only place I really like.

My DH would rather live in Balham as it's smarter, more stable house prices and value more likely to increase

I think I would be happier in Dulwich as people seemed more chilled out, nice community. But we'd have to start from scratch finding a place in a private school for DD for Sept 13. we can get a bigger place in dulwich for our money than in balham.

Any thoughts?

Rhubarbgarden Sat 16-Feb-13 23:47:34

Dulwich. I disagree with all your DH's reasons for preferring Balham. I agree with all your reasons to prefer ED. smile

Southwest Sat 16-Feb-13 23:58:51

WHy does you dh think prices are more likely to increase in Balham? massive price rises there over the last 10 years

I would say Dulwich

for exactly the same reasons as you
also not sure what age gender your dcs are but schools in Dulwich can be fab

WishIdbeenatigermum Sun 17-Feb-13 09:24:05

Dulwich definitely. But check commuting times. It can be as quick- walk to train station, walk from Victoria or London Bridge, but if one of you needs to get to North London Balham is at least on the tube.

ogredownstairs Sun 17-Feb-13 17:51:10

I prefer E.Dulwich too. I find Balham's new status v amusing. When I lived there in the early 90s is was still very 'gateway to the south'.

MarshaBrady Sun 17-Feb-13 17:59:19

Dulwich. I didn't realise people thought of Balham so highly.

Southwest Sun 17-Feb-13 18:20:38

well Marsha no one on this thread does!!
haha

MarshaBrady Sun 17-Feb-13 18:21:30

Haha I know! Except the op's dh. Anyone else?

Do we all live in SE London by any chance grin

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 18:24:46

Hmm, I know Balham very well (dh lived there in the 90s) and live in Dulwich.

Much prefer the ED High Street, but never underestimate how long it takes you to get anywhere. It really depends where you commute to.

One hour on the 176 from ED to the South Bank yesterday.

<cries>

MarshaBrady Sun 17-Feb-13 18:26:13

Ouch. We're close to the new overground got to say it really helps.

PrincessOfChina Sun 17-Feb-13 18:27:10

I used to live in Clapham (10 years ago admittedly) and Balham was definitely not highly thought of then. Dulwich certainly was.

lalalonglegs Sun 17-Feb-13 18:47:53

I live near Balham. It is very overpriced and getting into a good school is a bit touch and go. However, it has lots of open space and it is much easier to get into central London than from Dulwich and if either of you have to commute that would probably decide it for me.

Funnily enough, a friend was making this decision last year and chose Dulwich, her house is not only much better value than it would be in SW12/17 but also much nicer shape - wider, a natural four-bed, bigger garden than she would be likely to find in Balham (I must admit, I don't really understand the attraction of the Heaver estate, all the houses seem so gloomy inside).

herethereandeverywhere Sun 17-Feb-13 19:10:13

Haha. No-one from Balham's rocked up to fight its corner yet? They're all busy enjoying where they live wink

I'd say the Balham comments upthread are about as accurate as "East Dulwich, it's a fancy name for Peckham isn't it" or "it's where you live when you can't afford Dulwich proper" or "People say its cosmopolitan when they mean a bit rough" - that last one could be applied (incorrectly) to either place.

On price rises, I'd say East Dulwich has probably gained more as a % than Balham as it started from a lower point. Balham is popular with families whether you like the place or not. This is due to:
1. Proximity to Wandsworth and Tooting Commons
2. Great choice of State schools at primary level (state = Henry Cavendish, Ravenstone, the Catholic one (can't remember name) Heaver is int he catchment for the latter 2) also the new free school Rutherford House to open on Balham High Road supposedly Sept 2013, Heaver is the closest to it.
3. Great choice of local private primary schools and access to those further afield (too numerous to list, you may well still get in to Bertrum House pre prep and Eveline Day.
4. Very family friendly restaurants/cafes, eg: Bertie and Boo for the kids, French cafe and Dees bakery on the Heaver, Lamberts for Sunday lunch if you want to go posh, Harrisons, Trinity Stores, the cafes on the same corner as Berite and Boo by the library (I forget their names).
5. All the useful things you need on the doorstep: choice of Waitrose or Sainsburys, local butchers, regular farmers markets, Leisure Centre with pool, small soft play for the kids

On schools most people do send further afield for secondary (and Dulwich schools are high on the list).

I personally wouldn't say either was a clear winner in terms of protecting your investment or making more money on your property, although the reason you can get more space for your money in East Dulwich is because it's cheaper so I'd argue less popular (or the prices would rise accordingly like they have in Balham). 10 years ago Balham was the poor relative of Clapham. Now it's generally preferred for families due to larger properties and more amenities and the choice of underground or overground.

I live in Balham (surprised? grin) but weirdly don't share your liking of Lavish Habit which to me is like a jumble sale serving cake and coffee - so perhaps we have different tastes? I also live on the Heaver, love how friendly it is, love how many families are here and here for the longhaul. Love our little parade of shops and know most of their proprietors. The Dr, health centre, dentist are a 5 min walk away from my front door, Balham high street less than 10. The high street isn't great IMO but there are plenty of great places on and around it - some listed above. I don't know those sorts of nitty gritty details about East Dulwich but I'd give Balham another assessment before writing it off then go with your heart (if your DH is on board with that).

Southeastdweller Sun 17-Feb-13 19:37:28

Balham, no contest.

The underground line would be the clincher for me. I agree that Dulwich is livelier but there's still a lot going on in Balham, plus Clapham is nearby I mean within stumbling distance. Love Clapham. There aren't as many great areas close by to Dulwich. I also like the idea of being a little closer to Heathrow.

thewhistler Sun 17-Feb-13 19:58:51

Agree with your DH on the Heaver estate. Otherwise would say Dulwich. But do work out your transport links.

Honesttodog Sun 17-Feb-13 21:15:29

Thanks for helpful comments. Dh says we can continue to look in dulwich only if I can find a school for DD.

The tube is a massive plus to me but I wonder if living in nicer community like dulwich, more chilled, less posh, would mean I wouldn't want to escape it all the time. I feel pretty fed up with the northcote road which is where I.d end up going to shop/ hang out if I didn't fancy balham so I wonder if I'll just get bored of the area pretty quickly anyway.

Nothing is coming on in heaver that we like so good at least to expand areas we are searching in. We are pretty fussy so search is already dragging...

Any suggestions of which private schools to contact?

Best parks to be near in dulwich?

Thanks all

MarshaBrady Sun 17-Feb-13 21:17:27

How old is your dd? Is it reception.

Honesttodog Sun 17-Feb-13 21:19:01

Southeast, I really am not a fan of clapham. Only thing I ,like about it is moens and tsunami. Dirty flat common not a draw either.

I guess I am really ready for a change of area. But also really important that dh is happy too. Such a massive decision! I guess schools will make things clearer.

Honesttodog Sun 17-Feb-13 21:20:44

Um she'll be 5 so year 1 no? [Blush]

thewhistler Sun 17-Feb-13 21:20:47

How old?

You have a huge choice

Two children I know doing well at oakfield which seems to have excellent pastoral support.

Jags, sydenham high,

MarshaBrady Sun 17-Feb-13 21:21:01

I must admit Clapham would be a reason to be in Dulwich. Lived there for a few years, really didn't like it.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 21:29:53

Heh heh! Well ED is becoming far too posh for non-corporate, non-banking, non-financial sector me and my family. When I moved here it was the slightly shabby artistic vibe about the place that attracted me but that has long since disappeared. I am sick of pulling over to allow 4x4s to pass me where the gap would have been fine for two average cars.

leelteloo Sun 17-Feb-13 21:31:01

Alleyns school is amazing! If I had the money this is where I would dream to send my dc. I was there at a reunion last year and I was blown away by the pupils, staff and facilities. Also Dulwich all the way for me! Balham is just "trying" and failing to be Claham!

CarlingBlackMabel Sun 17-Feb-13 21:39:27

Balham has a Waitrose, and Sainsbury's on the High St - E Dulwich has a co-op and a Londis.
Balham has the tube, and a good cinema up the road.
E Dulwich has a better park if you could Dulwich.
Both have good cafes and restaurants.
Balham has more chain stores and cafes - Pizza express / WH Smith, etc. But E Dulwich will be heading bland-chain-wise, I bet you.
Personally I find E Dulwich insufferably smug and mc nappy-valleyish. Self conscious.
And Balham blighted by the A3.

Try Herne Hill. It has the best park (Brockwell) and Thameslink and a fast line to London Bridge.

Southeastdweller Sun 17-Feb-13 21:45:57

Agree on Herne Hill. I think you'd love Brockwell Park and Brixton is nearby too for your functional shops and Victoria Line, as well being close to East Dulwich.

CarlingBlackMabel Sun 17-Feb-13 21:53:05

Actually Brixton is the best of all these places to live but I suspect that for someone considering Heaver Estate or E Dulwich it will be too edgy.

But it has better cafes than any of the others put together, cinema, lido, park, supermarket, market, recreation centre, ice rink, tube, overground, department store, brilliant buses and cheaper housing. One or two very good restaurants, too. Check out Upstairs.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 21:57:54

Hmm, I want to love Brixton. It was the first place I lived in London and I still visit for The Ritzy, Hennes and the market. But I just can't get past the fact that as you drive down Brixton Hill the first two enormous shop fronts you see on each side of the road are MacDonalds and KFC! Naffola grin. Its not nearly as interesting as it was in the mid 80s.

Agree that Herne Hill might be a good bet for you op and also agree that ED is swiftly going the way of every other High Street and won't be long before it is all chain shops.

lalalonglegs Sun 17-Feb-13 21:58:21

You forgot live music venue, carling grin. I love Brixton - but I didn't know it had an ice rink. Where's that then?

Uppermid Sun 17-Feb-13 22:00:34

Wouldn't live in either! Come to forest hill, honor oak, brockley! More house for your money, great school, great community, great parks and great transport links

Southwest Sun 17-Feb-13 22:02:15

PMSL at Heaver and Brixton grin just imaginign some funny images of people I know they are a bit different!!!!!!!!

If you like Clapham then you need Dulwich IMHO

Waitrose is hardly the be all, Im sure Dulwich will get one soon (and/or that Ocado/Waitrose will deliver)

What's the good cinema up the road from Balham?

Alleyns all the way according to my friends (and my SE London living sister too!)

Pizza Express in Dulwich and a Tesco somewhere too

Southwest Sun 17-Feb-13 22:02:54

oh and Northcote Road is quite a treck from Heaver

greyvix Sun 17-Feb-13 22:10:11

Go for the house you like, and check schools in the area. Anywhere will be a good investment. I hope so anyway: we have bought in Clapham.

Honesttodog Sun 17-Feb-13 22:59:38

Cinema is by sainsburys in balham

Have been to upstairs, it's v good! We also liked boqueria.

I actually having been that impressed with balham restaurant. Had a forgettable meal at Lambert's. French place on either on fine but not amazing. Dees has great sacks of cake mix powder stacked everywhere which horrified me as I make cakes for friends/parties etc. Why?

Yes wait rose is great but i'd be really to live near Lordship lane and have boring stuff delivered.

Honesttodog Sun 17-Feb-13 23:02:11

Carling I love brixton too but dh WD not... What are yr fave cafes? All the ones in brix market or are there others? I only ever go to the market.

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 18-Feb-13 00:43:14

It's true about the centre of Brixton being almost defined by KFC and McD sad. And the centre could be ruined further by the council's plans to turn the Town Hall into some kind of business centre sad.

My fave cafes? Everything in the market, especially Federation Coffee, Lounge on Atlantic Rd, Opus underneath Upstairs, and the Lido for breakfasts.

Streatham High Rd now has some good cafes. If you like Lavish Habits you will like the cafe immediately downhill from the South London Press building on Leighham Court Rd which has cupcakes and a sewing club, and there is a brilliant place further S on the High Rd called something like Boyce and Roca.

The Pizza Express is in Dulwich Village, not E Dulwich. Next to Cafe Rouge. How mutually damning.

Herne Hill has PE, too, but it also has Cafe Provencal and Mimosa and Blackbird Bakery. And a good pub, The Florence, that has it's own micro-brewery, good food and an excellent games room for children.

Herne Hill. V respectable, and you can walk to Brixton. Go there. Good access to Rosemead school the Dulwich preps, Herne Hill school, Oakfield, Streatham and Clapham Girls, if you are looking for private.

I am a S Londoner, can you tell?

nannyof3 Mon 18-Feb-13 01:17:04

Neither .... Sorry

FlouncingMintyy Mon 18-Feb-13 11:16:28

Gosh, there's a pointless comment if ever I saw one!

herethereandeverywhere Mon 18-Feb-13 13:20:19

Dees has sacks of cake mix?! OMG DON'T LIVE IN BALHAM!!!! hmm

Honesttodog Mon 18-Feb-13 15:40:06

I know, I know, I happen to be a cake bore tho. Cake is crucial to my home purchase!

herethereandeverywhere Mon 18-Feb-13 16:24:13

Dees was the single reason I couldn't shift my last post baby stone. Self imposed ban since October = stone shifted. I really can't eat that much cake/pastry without it having an adverse effect. Once a fortnight maybe. <Completely off point of thread sorry>

Levantine Mon 18-Feb-13 17:42:30

I would go for Herne Hill over either - better transport links and a nicer park IMO

Southwest Mon 18-Feb-13 17:52:03

Yes I was going to say some of you seem to drink a lot of coffee then carling made me laugh and I realized I was in a

Coffee shop!!

Sorry for my terrible punctuation earlier

Here I wish I could shift a stone just by avoiding coffee shops I am trying to diet right now and it is just sooooooo boring

DoYouMrJones Mon 18-Feb-13 19:50:26

Balham for me, bought back when there wasn't much here and I am glad to see how it's improved so much over the years.. I'm not a fan of Dulwich. Someone mentionsmushed smugness of Dulwich - One of the smuggest, most insufferable mums I ever met lived there. An Aussie like me so thought we'd have something in common but no! It has coloured Dulwich for me ever since wink

Not entirely rational I know!

Honesttodog Sat 23-Feb-13 12:31:51

Well have done a bit more research, some folk have pointed out that there isn't much in balham for older kids which is a pretty big negative when you think about it. I'm not sure how it will change in the next 5 years but there would be something reassuring about dulwich already having lots of secondary schools that can provide good clubs/after school activities when they are 9+.

I won't be totally unhappy if we end up in balham but I do suspect I will get bored of it. I am already pretty bored of SW london anyway.

WishIdbeenatigermum Sat 23-Feb-13 12:49:20

Dulwich has 5 secondary schools! And 3 in East Dulwich and several in nearby Sydenham. There's not a load for teenagers to do, but there are loads around, and as teenagers seem to just like being together they seem happy. It's very MC, but that's ok too- they like moaning about the bourgeoisie, can get to Peckham and Brixton and have somewhere safe to retreat to! wink
No tube though, so you do end up ferrying.

legalalien Sat 23-Feb-13 13:42:51

I agree with those who suggest herne hill. Good transport links, an easy walk to north dulwich station if you need to get to london bridge rather than victoria.

(From dulwich, and for the record not australian)

Honesttodog Sat 23-Feb-13 13:48:20

mc? what's that?

Honesttodog Sat 23-Feb-13 13:48:38

middle class?

legalalien Sat 23-Feb-13 13:58:56

Yes smile largely dictated by house prices.

Jeezimacasalinga Sat 23-Feb-13 19:02:10

Well....in my opinion they are both pretty similar in terms of demographics/atmosphere, but Balham has much better transport links, hence the higher prices. If your DD is only 5 (and needing a school this September!) I would not make secondary schools a deal breaker in your search - many SW London kids travel quite a bit to school, and I know there is a school bus that goes b/w Balham and Dulwich (from Nightingale Lane iirc). Good luck - I was in your position a few years ago, we chose Nightingale Triangle area in Balham and I have not regretted it. Love the area, neighbours, proximity to commons and the fact that I can be at Oxford Circus in 20 mins!

spotty26 Sun 24-Feb-13 08:40:49

I like both areas very much but the Properties on the Heaver and proximity to the Common would swing it for me. The roads are wide buckets of period features. Ritherdon Road is so lovely now with the street party and lovely shops. You can still go and hang out in ED if you like it too.

Is it Dulwich Village or East Dulwich your refer to - two quite separate areas and price brackets. If you could afford "The Village" then of course that is a very salubrious area and no contest with Balham really.

If you are veering towards ED then I think Herne Hill houses are a tad grander and smarter but the vibe is not as cool.

Honesttodog Tue 26-Feb-13 16:32:35

Fairly sure we can't afford Dulwich village. It's a bit too prissy for me anyway.

Yes prob East dulwich, I have fallen in love with a house there but DH not happy with the road - obv Heaver estate roads are really pretty. However, houses only coming on very slowly so am losing confidence that we will find one there.

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