Wandsworth Property Market – chicken or egg? 


“Half of all £1m+ UK house sales are in London…with Wandsworth leading the pack at 11%. (Ken and Chel 2nd at 9%).”

So said a City A.M. headline the other day.

Why is this a headline? Why is it important? What are they telling us?

Well, firstly that property in WW is expensive, and secondly that it changes hands with alarming regularity.

And this is true.

And thirdly, I guess they’re adding sparkle by chucking in the fact that Chelsea came runner-up.

The glamourous borough of Wandsworth.

We can certainly concur, WW is indeed glamourous, that’s why we live and work here right?

Property here does transact with alarming regularity (that’s why WE work here right?) and last year we handled the most transactions ever, up 42% against the three-year average.

And yes it is expensive, prices were up around 7% YOY (that’s why YOU live here right?).

And you living here…this is the key to all of this – but more on that later.

But this year is now our best year ever, with numbers of sales up another 10% YOY and prices rising a further 3-4%.

It is my contention that the genesis of this headline, and of our stats, is to be found seven years ago to the day that I sit writing this.

On that day, in the Mother of All Parliaments, the Mother of All Monarchs unveiled the Govt’s shiny new law – The European Referendum Bill – aka we’re running scared of that gobshite Nigel Farage and his appeal to the lower end of our electorate ie selling xenophobia disguised as constitutionalism. So, let’s put it to the people, saying that if they really want Brexit (which they don’t) they can stick with us, cos we’ll give it to them rather than Nige. So they get sensible (?) govt AND patriotism/nationalism/xenophobia all in one vote, rather than just the latter


No one ever went bust underestimating the stupidity of the Great British Electorate.

Well, we did, or rather we are doing so as we speak (today the Bank of America said that the pound is currently facing “an existential crisis”). More on that gathering storm later, if we have time…

Talking of existential crises, the time between that announcement, 27th May 2015 and Dec 2019 when The Johnson got in with a workable majority, was a time our country, and more relevantly our city, was in an elevated state of Kierkegaardian panic. For almost four years no-one (including the govt) really knew what this country was up to or where it was headed or what was going to happen. At the time of the Brexit referendum, nonsense headlines arose such as “up to 80,000 city workers to leave London after Brexit according to research by PwC”.

And as we have our fair share of City workers round here, existence was threatened, and the market froze – BTW, to date it is estimated that less than 7,500 city workers have left since Brexit. Who to trust less accountants or journalists?

Anyway back to 2019, Bozo got in and now we knew (vaguely) where we were going. And so the market floodgates opened.

And so I wrote in Jan 2020

“what we’re hearing from both buyers and sellers, is this “look, we’ve waited to do this move for a long time now, we’ve squished and squeezed in this tiny flat/rattled and hummed in this huge house/put the school place in Surrey on hold (delete where applicable) for too long now. We’ve waited four long years, whilst this idiotic Government has tried to sort itself out. Finally, they do, sort of, and so, (over the Festive Break) we have decided to upsize/downsize/move out for schools and at last make the move we’ve stalled on for almost half a decade. And frankly, at the moment, an epidemic of flu is not going to stop us” (their words, not mine).

But as we now know it wasn’t flu.

And so, the market shut down again, and we had further staccato lockdowns, further anxiety, and the resultant reduced market activity for another 18 months or so.

Crucially during this time UK householders had saved an estimated £175bn+, and they had continued to breed, divorce, marry, grow old, make plans and die. So, about a year ago, when the Silver Bullet of The Vaccine arrived, the good families of WW came rushing out of lockdown armed with their plans, divorce papers, marriage licenses, new children, and most importantly cheque books and the market went wild.

And in that paragraph was the crucial word for us, and for the City A.M. headline writers, and for the chicken and for the egg.


Families are the sine qua non of the WW property market. They define it and they drive it.

But why are they here? Is the City A.M. headline another example of The Postcode Lottery. And have we all won it?

Well yes. And no.

Yes, all this is postcode dependent (obvs) but no, I would suggest it isn’t a lottery.

Far from it.

However venal or sociopathic a city broker may be, they will still (in most cases) care about their children. About their future, their well-being and therefore their education.

And I would maintain that it is chiefly the schools of Wandsworth that represented the egg that bore the chicken that is local property prices and the City A.M. headline.

In the 80s when the first brave pioneers headed South across the River from Fulham (I have friends from school who were just such pioneers), it was for the schools that they came. So, the Egg of schools gave birth to the Chicken of the City A.M. headline.

However, some of those pioneers would maintain that house prices pushed them South, and that they made the schools good. Consequently, they would put the Chicken before the Egg, or they would call the Egg Fulham property price, and the Chicken Wandsworth schools…if that makes sense?

Anyway, you’re here and reading this, so in a way you’ve won the lottery…

PS sorry, we didn’t have time for The Storm, perhaps next time eh?