Hertfordshire’s most expensive homes 2018
PUBLISHED: 11:43 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:55 05 March 2019
From Hertford to Harpenden, a handful of Hertfordshire homes changed hands last year for prices in excess of £3.7million. Richard Burton took a closer look.
Whatever uncertainty there may have been in the property market last year, no-one seems to have told the high rollers wealthy enough to snap up the most desirable homes in Hertfordshire.
And with the three best-sellers all topping the six million mark, they were not afraid to pay top dollar for their dream homes.
The estate agents behind many of these market-defining deals all agree that the jitters that stalled many sales did not tend to affect the top-end of the market, thanks in part to the sheer exclusive nature of the properties in a county which has so much going for it.
One such was Margaret Towie of Lumley Estates, who sold a fair number of top-end homes in Radlett either side of the 2018 Land Registry deadline on which our table is based – including the £9 million pile that tops our list in Newlands Avenue.
She recognised that the market was “a little sticky last year”, and there were very few quick sales. But she explains: “You have to remember that some of the potential buyers we had looking were real experts in terms of knowing what they wanted.
“They have serious local knowledge and recognise that Radlett is a seriously exclusive area and one that attracts the sort of discreet, high-value purchasers that know exactly what they are looking for - and tend to go out and get it.”
Knight Frank’s Oliver Beales, the agent behind the £4.35 million sale of The Pavilion in Ashridge, agreed.
“The middle-market, those between £2-3.5 million was a little tricky for a while last year but once you went north of that, you were dealing with a different type of buyer altogether; often international investors who wanted to take advantage of attractive exchange rates and, in this case, were looking for somewhere in the country but close to London and Heathrow.”
Nick Ingle, who runs the residential team at Savills’ Harpenden office, agreed that 2018 was a “challenging” year, but the top-end maintained what he described as “considerable interest”. So what attracted that interest?
Lumley Estates promised benchmark-raising bespoke features and cutting-edge technology in the four storeys that sit behind security controlled gates at the £9 million 15 Newlands Avenue, Radlett.
And they wouldn’t have been disappointed. As well as a master suite, there are six other en suite bedrooms, a self-contained two-bed apartment and a pretty spectacular basement leisure complex comprising a swimming pool, steam room, gym, games room and cinema.
Outside, there’s another pool – plus a smaller spa pool with automatic covers among landscaped gardens created with the aid of Chelsea Gold Medal-winning landscape architect, Luciano Giubbilei.
Behind the three-car garage block lie expansive lawns, paved and decked terraces a resin-bound gravel driveway and automated irrigation system.
The games and function room with its kitchenette and bar, is testament to the fact that Validharam, 30 Astons Road, Northwood, was designed with entertaining in mind on one of the best plots on the prestigious estate’s most prestigious road.
First impressions are just that - impressive. The entrance lobby faces steps which lead up to the central reception hall with its cantilevered staircase, glass balustrades and galleried landing. And if guests find that more impressive than practical, there’s also a lift to the first floor.
One of the gems is the custom-built kitchen featuring curved Marazzi units and integrated Gaggenau appliances. And it’s all for the family. The staff use the adjoining kitchen and servery.
Overall, there are five reception rooms, six bathrooms and six bedrooms, the most impressive of which is arguably the master suite which dominates a large space from the middle to the rear of the house and opens via double doors to the balcony. There’s also a 24ft dressing room and a sizeable gym with sauna and cloakroom.
Built in 2009, secluded Herons Wood in Ponsbourne Park, Hertford, comes, as you might expect, with the latest technology running through its core; from the electronically installed lighting and sound systems, air conditioning in every room and extensive security features, including door and window shutters, a remote controlled alarm system and CCTV.
Set on the edge of a valley alongside a small lake, there’s also a complex containing garaging for four cars, an estate office and small cottage. A post-and-rail paddock flanks about eight acres of woodland. The 24 acres are also home to stables and stunning formal gardens. As you’d expect, there’s also a squash court, gym and, essential for grounds of this splendour, a boot room.
Set back from the road on a wide plot fronted by a gravel carriage drive, 37 Newlands Avenue, Radlett, enjoys five bedrooms, some of which are set into the steep sloping roof. A swimming pool sits on a terraced area to the rear, beyond which are private richly-shrubbed gardens falling back on to open countryside.
But what made this such a catch was a spectacular 10,000 ft residence planners had approved to take its place.
When you consider that the garage – detached, spacious and with two wide electric doors – has its own under-floor heating, plastered walls and mood lighting, you get some idea of the grandeur of Charnwood House, Northwood.
It sits on a gated private road many remember as Oxhey Drive South before it was renamed Woodside Walk in recognition of the protected trees that flank it.
Aside from the designer garage, it enjoys an air-conditioned annex studio suite, garden studio with its own terrace, five bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, gym, plant room, a vaulted octagonal cinema room wired for surround sound and 35ft x 29ft drawing room, accessed via a double-height reception hall leading to a sweeping walnut and cream staircase.
The Pavilion, near Berkhamstead, was purpose-built to take full advantage of the idyllic and elevated position enjoyed by a former bungalow within Ashridge Park.
The owners created a stunning lodge-style home in more than four acres of gardens, with a heavy emphasis on natural materials - including Siberian larch cladding and slate roof - to reflect one of Hertfordshire’s most desirable woodland locations.
The main living space is open plan with a bespoke kitchen featuring Italian marble work surfaces and an Aga, plus dining and family area, highlighted by a vaulted ceiling and a spectacular slate chimney breast.
There are six bedrooms, one of which forms part of a separate suite with sitting room and kitchen – all on a single floor comprising a massive 5,000 sq ft.
A long, sweeping drive flanked on both sides by open fields leads visitors into Chipperfield House. The drive opens in to a traditional courtyard with stables, tack room and even a pottery.
Nestled in 27 acres of parkland near Kings Langley, there’s also a pond, a bluebell wood to the rear, a tennis court, a half-acre walled kitchen garden and a series of wells. Nearby, there’s also a three bedroom bungalow with its own double garage.
The house comprises 7,940 sq ft of accommodation and features such gems as three reception rooms which interconnect to form a substantial entertaining area, and a grand drawing room with outstanding views over mature azalea and wisteria bushes.
Named after nearby woodland, Ladygrove began life as the gamekeeper’s cottage to the Childwickbury Estate. Today, it’s a substantial and fittingly stylish country house in its own right, conveniently located for both St Albans and Harpenden.
A private gravelled drive, immaculate lawns, topiary trees and lavender make a suitable entrance to a house which comprises six bedrooms and boasts a gym, art studio and an equestrian area complete with brick-built stable block within its 40 acres.
A relative new-build, Woodfield House in Hatfield is a substantial family home of 10,000sq ft spread over four floors in 2.7 acres of grounds and housing a spectacular indoor leisure complex which includes a vast studio, heated swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, salon and even its own changing room.
Advertised as ideal for entertaining on a grand scale, there’s also an all-weather tennis court with floodlights and the main house comprises seven bedroom suites and three substantial reception rooms alongside the 26ft x 23ft kitchen/family room.
It’s rare for any of the 34 houses in Park Avenue North, Harpenden, to come on the market – only a handful have sold there in the past five years - which helps to make it one of the most exclusive addresses in town.
That and, of course, its hilltop location overlooking the town centre and the fact that, unlike many areas of such substance, none of the conversions there have involved flats, just ever bigger and more impressive family homes.
The white-walled five-bed detached that is no. 32 sits in partial seclusion surrounded by trees on the inner ring of the road and became the second highest sale to date back in February, only £25,000 less than nearby Mulberry House which sold four years earlier.