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Moving to Lodon - where to live?

(172 Posts)
lily3 Wed 07-Nov-12 00:39:57

With a budget of £2-3 million and 2 toddlers in tow, what area of London would you live in? Looking for an area with parks and space, but close enough to venture into the city daily. We'd rather go out a bit farther to get more square footage as opposed to a tiny flat in Chelsea, for example. Thanks in advance!

Devora Wed 07-Nov-12 01:59:46

Are you planning on private or state education? If the latter, I would head for Richmond or Kingston where the state schools are fantastic (still have to be careful about getting into the right catchments, so do your research). Your budget would buy you a lovely house in Richmond, Kew, Teddington etc, where you get great schools, gardens, parks.

IF you are going to educate privately then you have much more choice. I've always liked Chiswick. Parts of Kensington are lovely but very expensive; ditto Hampstead, Dulwich, St Johns Wood.

lily3 Wed 07-Nov-12 02:19:17

We are planning on doing private schools. In some of your suggestions, what are the residents like? We are coming from Los Angeles and there are definite stereotypes for each area!

lily3 Wed 07-Nov-12 02:21:09

Also, what is your opinion of Wimbledon? Is this considered a nice area? Or is North/West better?

VerityClinch Wed 07-Nov-12 06:53:10

Wimbledon Village is lovely

Snog Wed 07-Nov-12 06:58:41

Why not use a buying agent - they will tell you all this stuff whereas there will be almost nobody here with experience of that magnitude of budget . Why not rent for a while to find out what appeals?

BeingPolite Wed 07-Nov-12 07:06:29

Wimbledon Common is very nice for walking, running, horse riding... many excellent schools in the private sector and 15 mins to Waterloo in the train. Plus tube connections (although the district line is sloooow). Barnes, Chiswick, Richmond, Kew etc are all lovely areas to consider too. I would use the services of a relocation agent like we did. They can give you the lowdown on the local areas you are considering and save a lot of time dealing with Estate Agents.

forevergreek Wed 07-Nov-12 07:09:01

I would say Kensington for the short commute/ Hyde park etc, but Chiswick is lovely. In sw London, only 15 mins drive max to Hyde park and v central if working there etc but many lovely parks nearby.

It has a really nice family And close knit feel, with nice cafes and pubs whih are child friendly and high street and side streets have some nice individual shops.

Some excellent schools and close to Chiswick members club with pools/ restaurants and sport facilities. Also close enough to richmond park

Is still pricey but less so than ken/ chelsea. You can prob get a really nice 4/5 bed, couple of bathrooms with a bit of space house here for your budget.

BeingPolite Wed 07-Nov-12 07:09:11

In fact, although I personally prefer the SW there are many great places to live in London all with their own merits. It depends on what your priorities are. For example, Hampstead is an equally lovely area.

FamiliesShareGerms Wed 07-Nov-12 07:29:00

What other parameters do you have, eg need transport links to a particular central station or other part of the country?

Wimbledon Village is where I'm moving when I win the lottery smile

1605 Wed 07-Nov-12 08:27:10

I am in property and act as a buying agent for my existing clients. Your budget is some 30% higher than that of my average clients, but if you are not from London then unfortunately you will still be distressed by how little this kind of money will buy you in terms of both square footage and quality of housing stock. Even location will be a compromise - no area of London was unbombed in WWII and accordingly there is ugly modern infill and social housing ('projects') everywhere you look.

You will need to set aside about £250k to renovate and decorate a space of this size to American standards of comfort and convenience. At £2m, stamp duty tax (payable by buyer at purchase) also comes into play in a big way, and you should look at properties well below or well above this price if you don't want to get stung when you renovate, or especially when you sell.

You will need to make a decision about schooling and whether you want your children educated in the American or English systems. This will affect where you buy, as it is just not fair to impose a London-style commute on a young child.

If you can cope with the upheaval, I would rent a house for a year before buying. I can also recommend Henry Prior and Tracy Kellett as buying agents. We have no professional connections but I respect them and their fees and attitude are more trustworth than that of many in this game. Good luck!

Gravenwithdiamonds Wed 07-Nov-12 08:31:20

I like being by the river so would head SW - Barnes has a lovely village feel, it's pretty, good schools (st Pauls etc), good train links to Waterloo. It is also full of American bankers - not sure whether that would be a plus or a minus for you!

If you want to be more in town, I would choose Kensington - close to the central parks and you can walk everywhere.

Definitely use a relocation agent.

1605 Wed 07-Nov-12 08:32:46

I should have have said you can afford around 3000 square feet on your budget, and perhaps more depending on condition, in most areas of Zone 2.

I'm afraid Zone 1 will be beyond you if you are looking for an undivided house, though you could certainly afford a large apartment with access to communal gardens if you were prepared for this compromise.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 07-Nov-12 08:35:38

Where in LA are you currently? I've done the opposite move, although on substantially lower budget, but could help narrow down if you like the current area you're in?

Not sure if Wandsworth Common has been mentioned yet? Putney? Highgate?

TomDaleysTrunks Wed 07-Nov-12 08:35:59

I think Chiswick / Kew / Richmond may be the answer. Lovely village feel and you get more for your money! Ealing would maybe get you a larger property, pitzhanger is nice.

All have good links to great private schools.

1605 Wed 07-Nov-12 08:36:01

Graven Unfortunately there is nowhere in Kensington where you can buy a family house for £3m ex fees. Even the tiny cottages around Stratford Road and Kelso Place (literally on top of the Circle Line) are £3m. Moreover, Kensington High Street is conspicuously on the decline because the kind of people who now buy in W8 rarely shop (or even live) there.

Brycie Wed 07-Nov-12 08:36:22

I second SW18,19. You have access to fantastic parkland but are on the tube and have good A3 M4 connections. I would go and live back there in a heartbeat. I wouldn't to do British Rail (or whatever it is now) but that's just me. It's crowded and less regular. It is fantASTic being on the tube.

Brycie Wed 07-Nov-12 08:37:25

Yes, Wandsworth Common definitely. SW4 also nice but I think you get a bit more land SW19? Could be wrong.

Brycie Wed 07-Nov-12 08:37:45

Wandsworth Common you get a nice class of person.

therugratref Wed 07-Nov-12 08:39:32

The Heaver Estate in Balham.

1605 Wed 07-Nov-12 08:41:55

My first thought would also be Wandsworth. You know the American Embassy is moving to Nine Elms in a staged move over the next few years, right?

Brycie Wed 07-Nov-12 08:44:34

Don't go north. South Londoners in nice areas are SOOO nice.

1605 Wed 07-Nov-12 09:09:25

It's not just about geographical prejudice, Brycie grin.

There are all sorts of things that a relocation agent will need to consider that would never occur to normal buyers.

If you're of Jewish extraction, for example, SW London will be a king size pain for you because the synagogues, schools, shops, education and language classes etc are all mostly in North London.

If you're a cultural mixture, an area like SW11 - very conspicuously white Home Counties middle class - is not necessarily where you'd want your children to grow up.

Brycie Wed 07-Nov-12 09:35:43

No you're right smile except with your last comment - as regards Wandsworth, lots of diversity, esp if you go to private school where children travel from diff. parts of London.

Gravenwithdiamonds Wed 07-Nov-12 10:02:11

We're in SW15 and there are 54 languages in my children's school (state). It's still pretty diverse in the private schools - it's fairly unusual to get families here where both the parents are white British.

shock at Kensington prices - makes SW15 look very downmarket. You get a very decent family house in Putney with that budget but, like 1605 says, there are many factors to consider - I would be looking at schools first, the private schools vary so much in London.

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