This page has information about housing and accommodation in Clapham for renters and buyers, direct from people who have already rented or bought here in the past. Whether you need to know about Clapham’s Council Tax, the best places to find somewhere to rent or buy or simply the nicest areas, we’ve got it covered.
- The rise and rise of Clapham… and its housing cost
- Clapham housing areas
- Clapham Council Tax explained
- Renting in Clapham
- Buying in Clapham
- Clapham Council / local authority housing
The rise and rise of Clapham… and its housing cost
Clapham housing and accommodation, either renting or buying, does not come cheap. The term ‘up and coming’ is overused in London, but Clapham genuinely deserves it because it has transformed over the last ten years to become one of the most desirable locations to live, driving up the cost. What it lacks in affordable accommodation, it makes up for with its superb local amenities and access to central London.
Clapham is incredibly sought after, increasingly so as the years go on and investment continues to pour into local shops and amenities. This of course has sent the cost of renting and buying a property in the area sky high, but given the current economic situation, now might be a good time to pick up a Clapham bargain.
Clapham housing areas
Like the rest of London there is housing all over Clapham, but for the purposes of breaking the area down for newbies Love Clapham tends to split Clapham into four distinct locations. All four of these areas have nice streets and not-so-nice streets so we’ll try to give some idea of what they are like with some generalised descriptions below.
- Clapham North: Love Clapham lives here and we love it to pieces. Poor old Clapham North used to be the runt of the area but no more! Clapham North is fast becoming the hottest ticket in town, and it’s certainly the trendiest part of Clapham to live in. Thanks largely to the new London Overground line that now runs from Clapham High Street station to Clapham Junction, or the other way to East London and Canary Wharf. Also, the brand new leisure centre, many nice pubs and restaurants help. Plus of course the people that live here have the best access to Clapham High Street and are brilliantly close to the Northern Line. Edgeley Road and Landor Road are very popular rental streets and you’ll be amazed at how quiet it is living just one or two roads away from the busy Clapham High Street. If you buy here, you’re onto a winner. Pros: great public transport, cheaper renting and closeness to Clapham High Street (you can stagger home – hoorah!) Cons: still in need of much love and regeneration, although that’s already starting to happen and can only improve.
- Clapham Common and Clapham Old Town: if you can afford to live around Clapham Common itself, congratulations and please can we be your friend? You guessed it, those mansions are as expensive as they look. Clapham Old Town is true to its name with some of the oldest and most architecturally beautiful houses in Clapham. Local celebrity, Vivienne Westwood, has lived in Clapham Old Town for a large part of her life for a reason – it’s stunning. You can rent around here, but to be honest, it’s more of a buyer’s area for London’s wealthier people. Pros: stunning, beautiful and big houses close to Clapham Common and everything that comes with it. Cons: too expensive for mere mortals, no large supermarket and a bit of an underground black spot with a good walk needed for even the closest people to the tube.
- Clapham South: welcome to suburban life in Clapham South and the Abbeville Village. Abbeville Road is one of Clapham’s most famous because of its pubs, restaurants and shops that really do feel like a London oddity for being stuck in the middle of a residential area. Around Abbeville Road you will find large Victorian terraced houses that are the envy of young professionals. It’s certainly a fantastic place to live, even if it is the area of Clapham furthest away from larger amenities with a good 20 minute walk to Clapham High Street or Balham and a longer 30 minute walk to Clapham Junction. If you want to escape the feel of the big city it is perfect however and life is definitely slower in this area. Plus, if you live on the Clapham Common side of Clapham South you can benefit from the lower Wandsworth Council Tax.Pros: great housing for buyers and renters, good public transport with Northern Line and busses, Abbeville ‘Village’ shops are unique and handy.Cons: expensive for buyers and renters, Clapham South tube station is by far the most packed station in Clapham so beware of the 8.15 – 8.45 am rush hour when you simply will not get onto a train!
- Clapham Junction / Northcote Road: actually in Battersea, this area benefits from the cheaper Wandsworth Council Tax and the best shopping in all of the Clapham area. From large supermarkets and department stores through to boutique shops and eateries on Northcote Road, Clapham Junction is the best place to empty your wallet. Importantly, while the area still has expensive housing, overall it is slightly cheaper than the other areas because it has no tube line, although you do have the Clapham Junction overground station connecting you to most places including central London. Typically, the best houses are either side of Northcote Road which will put you close to both Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common parks.Pros: close to overground train lines, good bus connections, large variety of shops and restaurants, good, affordable housing, cheap Wandsworth Council Tax.Cons: no underground line, area around Clapham Junction Station and Falcon Road isn’t particularly nice
Clapham Council Tax explained
First things first, the area known as ‘Clapham’ is actually spread across two London boroughs: Lambeth and Wandsworth. This matters because there is a significant difference in the cost of Council Tax between the two. Lambeth covers most of the Clapham Common / Clapham North areas and has one of London’s most expensive Council Tax. On the other hand, Wandsworth has one of London’s cheapest Council Tax and covers parts of Clapham South, all of Clapham Junction and parts of Battersea.
The difference in Council Tax can be huge, with Lambeth bands coming in at almost double the amount of Wandsworth bands. For instance, in 2009/10 the lowest band for Wandsworth is £470.76 and Lambeth is £823.41 while the highest band is £1412.27 and £2,470.22 respectively. Youch. There are a number of reasons for this, but primarily it’s because Lambeth contains far more local authority housing. All areas are well connected by public transport but bear in mind that Clapham Junction is nowhere near a tube station. While it does benefit from having one of the best connected overground train stations and bus networks, it isn’t exactly ideal being disconnected from the tube.
Our recommendation? Well, there are pros and cons to both boroughs, so it will obviously depend on what you can afford and which area you would prefer to live in but Clapham South seems to be the area that has the best of both despite its distance from shopping areas.
Renting in Clapham
Given the high cost of purchasing in Clapham (and anywhere in London for that matter) renting is often the best option and Clapham certainly caters for the renting crowd. Here at Love Clapham we’ve rented in a number of properties in Clapham since we’ve lived here with good experiences and affordable options. Prices obviously fluctuate, but we found in 2008 / 2009 that the below prices were correct and that actually, they have remained fairly stable even in the current recession.
If you want decent accommodation without going bankrupt, your best bets are to look in Clapham North, Clapham South and Clapham Junction where your money will definitely go further. In these three areas you will typically be able to find somewhere liveable for around £260 – £330 per week. The bottom end of this price range will get you either a decent ex-local authority flat on an estate or a less than appealing flat in a Victorian terrace (hint: go for the ex-local authority). The top end of this range will probably get you somewhere that is either modern or newly refurbished and generally quite swanky. If money is no object (why aren’t you buying?) then you should consider renting around Clapham Common or Clapham Old Town.
It’s amazing how tiny differences in the weekly cost of a rental property in Clapham can make such big differences in the property, but we’ve found after extensive research looking for a place, that the magic Clapham rental price point is £300 per week for a one bed flat. At this price, you will find somewhere in a good location that has decent furnishing and is a good size. Costs will reduce dramatically when you share. You might get lucky and be able to strike up a bargain with your land lord, but we’ve always found the rental market in Clapham to be extremely savvy – they know their prices around here.
- Gumtree – Love Clapham highly recommends using Gumtree. You will deal direct with the land lord, which allows you to meet them and see if they are good and it can often work out better if something goes wrong. Use your judgement carefully because you won’t have the protection of an agent.
- RightMove, Find a Property – and other similar websites include listings from local estate agents who are ten a penny in Clapham and will end up driving your rental prices up. They have their benefits, but Love Clapham prefers to deal direct with the land lord.
Buying in Clapham
The cost of buying a property in Clapham sky rocketed over the last 3 – 4 years, and although prices have stabilised in the current recession, they remain incredibly high for what you will actually receive. For a flat in a Victorian terrace you will pay anywhere from £400,000 upwards, with prices rising sharply for the more sought after roads like Abbeville Road.
Ex-local authority housing is a good starter option with a number of estates in Clapham actually proving to be well located and safe, but even these will put a sizeable hole in your bank account.
Clapham Council / local authority housing
The Clapham area is very well equipped to help out local residents with its Council housing schemes. Both boroughs offer housing options to people in need of help and the Councils make things really easy through their website and other methods of contacting them. For more information, spend some time reading the pages on their websites below.