In March, Anna Anderson and her husband moved to a new house just five streets away from their old one in Fulham, south-west London. They sold a three-bedroom flat to buy a four-bedroom, three-storey house. “We spent lockdown toying with a move to the country but for a Swedish person leaving London was too daunting,” says Anna, who works at the media company Condé Nast.
“Instead, we chose more space, and a big kitchen opening on to a garden, so we could have BBQs and lots of local friends and children running around. I love the small-town feel of Fulham.”
Sitting above a loop of the Thames, Fulham is often described as a sort of compromise — better value than next-door Chelsea or Notting Hill but more convenient than Putney and Barnes and other neighbourhoods on the south side of the river — especially since the closure of Hammersmith Bridge has made crossing even more torturous.
Fulham is a predominantly residential area of Victorian and Edwardian properties that attracts high-earning young professionals, with a hefty number of first-time buyers helped financially by their parents, says Faith Cook of agent Winkworth. “People tend to stay in Fulham if they can.”
Fulham’s property market has been boosted since the pandemic, as buyers look for roomier houses with outside space. In the first five months of the year, the number of house sales in the SW6 postcode was 59 per cent higher than in the same period in 2019, according to LonRes, which tracks the prime London market.
It is a turnround for a market that has struggled since 2014, when stamp duty reforms increased the tax bill on more expensive properties. That year, house prices in Fulham peaked at £1,007 per sq ft, and fell 13 per cent in four years. Flat prices dropped 10 per cent between 2016 and 2019, to £871 per sq ft. In the past year, prices have risen 3 per cent and 2 per cent for houses and flats respectively.
While prices have yet to recover to their mid-decade peaks, the race for space and the just-ended stamp duty holiday have helped the market surpass its 2018 levels. The average discount achieved on asking prices reduced from -10 per cent (in 2018) to -6.7 per cent in the year to date, according to LonRes. The time on the market to exchange has fallen from 213 days in 2018 to 180 days in the year to date.
In the year to date, 43 per cent of sales were houses, many with bigger gardens than those in Chelsea. “If you are in Chelsea or South Kensington and need that extra 1,000 sq ft-1,500 sq ft of living space and can’t find it (or afford it) there, Fulham is the logical next move for many,” says Paul Price of agent Marsh & Parsons.
For Brazilian-born Jade Samuels, the move to Fulham from South Kensington three years ago brought extra space but also a welcoming sense of community. She and her husband and three young daughters live in a five-bedroom house close to South Park, an Edwardian walled park. She runs the Parsons Green outpost of The Bump Class, an antenatal course.
“It’s so easy to run into people we know, which didn’t happen in South Ken, and to be able to walk to everything.” Her eldest daughter, who is five, attends Thomas’s Fulham, a popular independent primary. Two French schools service a notable expat community.
“Some French in the financial sector predictably left because of Brexit and Covid but others working in different spheres are coming, though well below the numbers before 2016,” says Kristina Aster of Breteuil, a French specialist estate agent. “The current market is unpredictable; negotiations are difficult.”
Many Fulham residents from overseas will rent first, says Katinka Hill, lettings director at Chestertons, who arranged a four-bedroom property near South Park for an American family moving in this month, through a relocation agency acting on behalf of the US embassy at Nine Elms. It was one of several similar requests this year.
She says the rentals market was on its knees, with transactions 60-70 per cent down in June 2020, but it’s returning to 2019 levels — unlike Chelsea, Kensington and Mayfair. “With flexible working, there’s not the need to be in such prime central areas any more and tenants are looking for better value and more space in Fulham.”
According to LonRes, the average annual rental rate of £34 per sq ft in 2021 is 3 per cent down on 2019; in Chelsea the £44 per sq ft average is 14 per cent down for the same period.
Olivia Morrow has loved renting a three-bedroom flat with a large terrace with her sister and a friend for three years, but the landlord is selling up. Minutes away from the dozens of restaurants, shops and gyms of the Fulham Road, it sold within 48 hours.
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“Despite struggling to find a new place to rent we are staying in this area,” says the 27-year-old, who works in marketing. “That area [the western end of Fulham Rd] is not exactly hopping at night,” she says, adding that she and her friends often head to nearby Parsons Green for a night out, to Aragon House, “which has a young, fun crowd”, or the White Horse.
The profusion of independent eateries around Eel Brook Common and Parsons Green village help attract buyers, agents say. Roads west of the Common — including Delvino, Crondace, Irene and Parthenia — are very popular, says Faith Cook, as are “the alphabet streets” — parallel roads between Fulham Palace Road and the riverside ribbon of Bishops Park and Craven Cottage football ground.
Closer to Putney Bridge or Hammersmith Underground stations, houses come with 60ft-70 ft gardens, and are listed for £2.5m-£4.5m, depending on whether they are extended/modernised. “People will pay over the odds for the C, D, E roads [Cloncurry, Doneraile and Ellerby],” she says. Just over the border with W6 is Fulham Reach, the area’s only large new-build scheme.
For large family houses, there are two key conservation areas: the Peterborough Estate, where 1890s four-storey red-brick “Lion” terraced houses (with sandstone lion motifs) sell for at least £3m, and the Moore Park Estate, south of Stamford Bridge football stadium, where houses cost £2m-£3.5m, according to Paul Price. “If you can afford much more than that, you’ll probably choose Chelsea over Fulham.”
Fulham, in the London Underground’s Zone 2, is very well connected with three Tube stations — Fulham Broadway, Parsons Green and Putney Bridge — on the District Line and Hammersmith on the Piccadilly Line.
Fulham is in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. The council tax band D for 2021-22 is £1,195.62.
Between 2010 and 2021 the average sold price of a house in Fulham has increased by 45 per cent, from £1,182,763 to £1,712,758, according to LonRes. The average apartment price has risen 14 per cent to £723,091.
What you can buy for . . .
£700,000 A two-bedroom, two-bathroom ground floor garden flat in the Munster Village area, half a mile from Craven Cottage and the river Thames. For sale with Chestertons.
£3.5m A four-storey, renovated Victorian town house with six bedrooms and four bathrooms. The house is on one of the sought-after “alphabet streets” in the Bishops Park conservation area. On the market with Winkworth.
£3.8m A six-bedroom, four-bathroom “Lion” house on the Peterborough Estate. The basement has been converted into a media or entertainment space, study and bedroom. There is also a small roof terrace. Available through Savills.