Comment: Hertfordshire life is cheap – compared to London living

Living the Notting Hill dream is an expensive business

Living the Notting Hill dream is an expensive business - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There’s nothing like a trip to London to really put Herts property prices into perspective.

Having recently returned from a weekend in Notting Hill, I can confirm that all Hertfordshire homes - even the exceedingly expensive ones - are massively bargainous by comparison.

Yes, there’s a property currently for sale here for ‘expectations in the region of £10m’, but it’s a proper country pile, with original Tudor house, staff cottage, gardener’s cottage and a couple of flats too, all set in vast grounds.

A glance at Rightmove confirms that a budget of around £10m would get you not a lot in Notting Hill. Specifically, £9.75m would buy you a five-bed penthouse in a portered period building. Yes, it’s a big flat (5,147 sq ft) but it hasn’t got a garden and there’s no mention of a parking space either. Proximity to Hyde Park clearly doesn’t come cheap.

Wandering the gorgeous, stucco-fronted streets of Notting Hill, lined with flashy motors and gawping tourists (me included), I was curious to know who was able to live this glamorous dream – and who was simply living hand to mouth, spending most of their salary on renting a tiny studio on a prestigious street. With more than 250 such properties currently listed for rent in the W11 area, I suspect the answer is ‘loads’.

You can see why so many Londoners in search of a bit more VFM may start to cast their eye north to Herts – especially when the Evening Standard keeps raving about what some of our prettiest towns have to offer.

Tring and St Albans both made the paper’s list of 25 ‘commuter hotspots’ last week, with speedy rail links and super schools helping them stand out against a load of also-rans from the likes of Essex, Kent and Surrey.

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What London-dweller wouldn’t want to swap their over-priced property for a piece of the St Albans dream? With studios starting from £675pcm and plenty of multi-million pound properties to work towards owning, they’d be mad not to make the move.