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Area Guide: Edgware

By on January 27, 2014
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A Town with Everything to Offer the City Dweller

Edgware dates back to Saxon times. Its name refers to a local pond where people would come to catch fish. In the 21st century it couldn’t be more different. As one of London’s major centres, it has a thriving retail scene, a fantastic selection of housing to suit all budgets and tastes and easy access to much of London and the rest of the UK. However, its history is not forgotten and in amongst the urban development lie some stunning green spaces, allowing residents to get away from city life.

Edgware is the largest ward in the North London Borough of Barnet, adjoining Mill Hill, Elstree, Burnt Oak and Stanmore. It’s far enough out of the city not to have a London postcode, which helps to keep house prices in check. As it’s on the Northern Line, there’s easy access into central London  just 30 minutes on the tube from Edgware Underground station. Not surprisingly, it’s a popular commuter spot.

Access to the rest of the UK is straightforward too. The M1 motorway lies close by, as well as the A1 Great North Way and the M25. Mainline trains run into St Pancras from nearby Mill Hill Station. It’s also served well by Transport for London’s bus network, bringing people from the outer suburbs such as Mill Hill and Burnt Oak into its interchange in the town centre, as well as from Finchley and further into London.

Edgware is classed as one of London’s 35 centres, as a sort of borough capital, so it has all the major services of a large town. Edgware Community Hospital, a library and many of the major high street chains have a branch along either on the High Street or Station Road, which make up the main shopping streets. The Broadwalk Shopping Centre opened in the 1990s and provides an indoor area to browse for bargains.

So how did it all begin? Edgware’s name derives from the Saxon word for a weir, ‘Ecgi’. It’s this weir on the pond where the original hamlet started life in the ancient county of Middlesex, probably close to a bridge on the modern-day Edgware Road. The Romans established a pottery industry at Brockley Hill. Later pilgrims stopped off in the village, using it as a resting place en route to St Albans during their pilgrimage to this important medieval religious centre. By Elizabethan times a village was well established on the site of the current town centre, stretching from Edgware Bridge to Station Road as far as St Margaret’s Church, Edgware’s main parish church.

Edgware grew, becoming a thriving market town by the 17th century with a weekly market, regular cattle and pleasure fairs and supporting a range of tradesmen, from tailors, charcoal sellers or colliers to brewers, butchers and, believe it or not, an optician.

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Edgware clearly has its roots in business and this strong tradition of retail and business success continues today. By the 19th century nine coaches a day were stopping off in the town on their travels between London and the North. Keen to cash in on those passing through, a gate was set up so that anyone passing through had to pay a toll to carry on with their journey. The railway and a tram service eventually came, but it was the extension of the underground which helped to establish modern-day Edgware in the 1930s. Solidly built semi-detached family homes sprung up in the surrounding streets, supporting a thriving retail centre and establishing the commuting tradition.

It’s not surprising that these houses for sale in Edgware are among the most popular. They have easy access to everything needed for modern life, as well as proximity to the nightlife in nearby Camden and Hampstead. Typical three-bedroom 1930s semi-detached houses for sale in Edgware will cost between £400,000 and £450,000. The average price paid for a semi-detached property in 2013 was £408,000. Some of these properties are being offered as houses to rent in Edgware.

Four- and five-bedroom detached properties fetch between £600,000 and £700,000. Edgware is a good investment. Property prices are modest compared to much of London, and they’re holding up well. In the last year prices have risen more than 9%, which represents a rise of more than £32,000 on average for each property sold in the area. The choice of houses for sale in Edgware includes a good selection of terraced properties. They are well built and convenient for the town’s transport links, and buyers can pick up a terraced home or investment property for between £300,000 and £400,000. The average price paid for a three-bedroom terraced property in 2013 was £283,000. The average two-bed flat will set you back around £250,000, so there’s scope to avoid the higher rate of stamp duty if you get your negotiations right. There are also several new-build apartments available, including Belair Court in the heart of the town centre on Edgware High Street. Here two-bedroom flats are being offered at £330,000.

Some of the best houses for sale in Edgware can be found in an area known as Edgwarebury. It lies next to the park of the same name which was once a country estate belonging to one of the Oxford Colleges. Prices for hi-spec, spacious, luxury five-bedroom houses top the one million pound mark along Edgwarebury Lane and the surrounding streets. Not surprisingly, Edgware has a number of famous residents. They include several current and former Arsenal football players, the film critic Barry Norman and TV and radio presenters Vanessa Feltz and Pat Sharp.

There’s no shortage of houses to rent in Edgware either. A one-bedroom house would cost £660 per calendar month, rising to £1250 for a two-bedroom house. Larger houses to rent in Edgware will set you back around £1640 pcm for a three-bed semi or £2201 for a four-bed detached. Rates for luxury houses to rent in Edgware depend on the facilities and location, but there is a good selection of highly desirable property, including new builds and character properties close to Edgwarebury Park.

The town is an area on the up and there are several options for buying houses in Edgware on new-build developments. Edgware Green, for example, borders Stanmore, which is a highly desirable quiet and leafy suburb of London. A new community is being created here with new apartments and town houses designed with cutting-edge architecture in mind and available from around £440,000.

It’s close to the shops and restaurants of Stanmore, which has a wide range of cuisine available. It’s just a 20-minute stroll from not just the Northern Line, but the Jubilee Line too, and it’s handy for several of the area’s beautiful parks and gardens and golf courses.

Local leisure facilities are excellent. The popular Edgwarebury Park is a former estate dating back to 1216. The gardens are stunning well maintained by the London Borough of Barnet, preserving the park’s history. It’s a nature conservation site and is popular with bird watchers. Not surprisingly, the park is very popular, particularly in the summer. It has several play areas for children of different ages, pitches for football and cricket and a tennis court. Other open spaces include Oak Hill Park and many neighbourhoods have children’s play areas. The disused railway line, which used to carry trains from the Great Northern Railway Line before it closed in 1964, offers tranquil walks on the eastern side of the town. Hampstead Heath is only five miles away and the Hertfordshire countryside is accessible a few miles north.

Other sports facilities include a pool and gym and indoor sports at Burnt Oak Leisure Centre in Watling Way. Stanmore has a leisure centre too and Oak Hill Park an outdoor gym, so there are plenty of opportunities to keep fit.

Edgware is a popular place to live because it has so much to offer. Barnet is the most populous London borough after Croydon, but that isn’t a bad thing. Edgware is a prosperous area. It has some of London’s most sought-after neighbourhoods, including Lake View in Edgwarebury, where properties top a million pounds. It also has significantly few people out of work and claiming benefits, at just 2.6% below the national average, and it has a high proportion of families. 34% of the population aged are between 15 and 39 and 47% are aged between 14 and 59. Average household income at £33,701 is above the national and Borough of Barnet average.

Local schools are sought after. Five of Edgware’s primary schools have outstanding Ofsted gradings, including the Annunciation infant and junior catholic schools. There are also Jewish schools at both primary and secondary level in the area which have an impressive rating. Other notable secondary schools include the London Academy and Canons High School.

Edgware has a thriving Jewish community. The 2011 census found that 33% of respondents put ‘Jewish Faith’ as their religion. Such is the strength of the Jewish community and the value they bring to the local economy that the UK’s only Eruv has been set up here. This is a zone where permission is granted for Jewish people to carry out activities normally prohibited on the Sabbath.

Plans have been drawn up to develop the town centre to maintain its position as an important retail centre. A new hotel and public spaces are planned as well as new office and conference space alongside the retail outlets. Improved routes for pedestrians and cyclists have been earmarked in the Town Centre Framework as well as environmental improvements such as tree planting. Now is a good time to invest in Edgware. Whether you wish to buy a house in Edgware as a new home or are planning an investment purchase, this is a great area.

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