Revealed: Hertfordshire’s most expensive homes 2019
PUBLISHED: 09:47 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:45 18 March 2020
It was quieter than usual at the top end of the local market last year, with the pricest Hertfordshire homes changing hands for relatively low amounts. Richard Burton found out why.
Home buyers were striking some hard bargains last year, taking advantage of the sort of changing conditions – the sort we now routinely label as uncertainty - that meant many sellers were open to offers.
And that extended throughout all price ranges, from starter homes to the normally robust millionaires’ rows in many of Hertfordshire’s most exclusive areas.
The county’s top sellers barely topped £4 million throughout the whole year, almost half that of the biggest seller of 2018, according to data from the Land Registry.
Agents agree that there were many variables that suppressed the market on Millionaire’s Row.
“There were a lot of factors,” said Nick Wearmouth, branch manager of Ashtons in Harpenden. “The top end was affected by the earlier stamp duty changes, then Brexit happened. A lot of stockbroker belt properties were obviously linked to the financial services sector which meant it wasn’t the most favourable environment.
“Then there was the weakness of the pound and a lot of circumspection among foreign investors, all of which led to a certain stagnation.”
It wasn’t all negative as the market rose and fell. But, he added: “There was a little more volume as the year progressed but, overall, there was lack of demand exacerbated by a lack of availability at the back end of the year.”
Margaret Towie, of Lumley Estates, in Radlett, who had several sales in the £4 million-plus range progressing at the end of the year, agreed.
“Last year was tough in market terms. It started with Brexit and ended with the election with a bit of a flurry in the middle,” she said. “Having said that, we did feel the Boris Bounce. The phone started ringing the moment he got in. But what affected the top end more than anything was stamp duty.
“Overall, people did see it as a buyers’ market so that did affect prices. But here in Radlett things were a bit different. It’s such a sought-after area that buyers tend to know it’s a case of getting what you can when you can.”
Compiling a list of top-sellers is never straightforward, given the vagaries involved, such as multi-occupancy plots, mere transfers of ownership or those that are only part-residential. Nevertheless, the poster child for 2019 appears to be 7 Charrington Close, Shenley, one of three in the top ten sold by Statons.
And what makes it more impressive is it’s part of a twin - one of two matching properties dominating an exclusive cul-de-sac of 11 homes, all in excess of £1.5 million.
It’s a house born to entertain with four sets of French doors linking several reception rooms to the rear garden and opening on to a large L-shaped rear patio.
Set into that is a swimming pool and, further back, as the land slopes away, there’s a tennis court that backs on to open fields, beyond which are acres of open countryside interrupted only by the wooded Watling Chase Timberland Trail.
Second on our list was what was listed as a land sale in Salisbury Avenue, Harpenden. Unsurprising, given that the road is one of the most prized in the area, sitting a matter of yards from the town centre and acting as a gateway to the prestigious Avenues area.
Apple Hatch in The Warren, Radlett, is another that’s all about quality, in terms of location, the materials, specification and technology employed throughout the six-beds, and three reception rooms of its 6,460 sq ft.
Secure behind electric gates, it boasts a walnut and stainless-steel feature staircase and chandelier, Smallbone kitchen with Gaggenau appliances and separate dining area accessed by an architect-designed glass doorway. The lighting and underfloor heating is iPad controlled. There’s a drawing room with mirror TV, wooden flooring, electric blinds and Lutron-controlled entertainment system.
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A key feature is the lower ground floor which houses a cinema room with JVC 7.2 surround sound system, a bar, wet room with shower, and a study which features skyline roof lighting, speakers, air conditioning and security monitors.
Hay Lodge is a home with history. Set in almost 40 acres, it was built in 1886 as a hunting lodge resplendent in French-styled architectural detailing, and includes a tower, also in the French style. Many of the original features remain, including the wood panelling and working fireplaces with ornate surrounds.
Outside, remote controlled oak gates lead to a carriage driveway, lawns, a lake, mature trees and a range of outbuildings. These include a pool room, garaging, a one bedroom cottage, a bungalow, and stables.
There’s also a hard tennis court, a heated pool, a wildflower meadow, and an orchard and summer house.
Abbotsford is a wide, sprawling white-walled property wrapped by high hedges and greenery. As well as six bedrooms, split over two upper floors, it has a cinema room, gym and Poggenpohl kitchen.
To one side there’s an additional annexe and a separate triple garage with a studio flat above accessed by a side staircase. Out front there’s a wide carriage drive hidden behind high walls. All in all, 6,438 sq ft and set on the edge of lush woodland.
Set back from Pegmire Lane and fronted by a wide expanse of gravel which blends well with the sand-hued stone porch and bay windows, Stile Gates in Aldenham is a period pile as traditional as they come.
Inside, there are seven bedrooms and six bathrooms, but it’s the five reception rooms that draw the eye, from the magnificent polished wooden and parquet floors to the abundance of timber resonating throughout in doors and fittings.
Outside, there’s a low-walled patio that sits slightly elevated with views over a wide wrap-around garden that resembles more of a country park with an abundance of shrubs, small orchard and mini-lake. There’s even a double garage block with accommodation above.
50 Russell Road in Northwood is pure character on three floors; from the ornate fittings to the room dimensions to the way it wraps itself around the elegant patio and the sprawling 263ft rear garden.
Every bedroom has an en suite bath or shower room, all seven of them over two upper floors. Downstairs the reception areas are divided into living, sun and dining rooms with a substantial kitchen/breakfast room.
Sitting alongside it all is a massive block that combines a double garage with a two-storey swimming pool complex.
Glenside in Northaw is a distinctive property, thanks mainly to its part weather-boarded exterior. Designed by internationally-recognised Architects F3 and built by the highly acclaimed developer, Base, even the gardens have been professionally landscaped.
It sits behind gates at the end of a deep drive on a plot of just under three-quarters of an acre. The house has its own gym, steam room, cinema room and triple garage. The house itself runs to more than 5,750 sq ft over three floors and comes with five bedrooms and four reception rooms.
Byways in Ayres End Lane is a six-bedroom early Edwardian home crammed with character in an acre of land it shares with its own two-bedroom guest cottage, both of which enjoy far reaching views over some of Hertfordshire’s finest countryside.
The main house has an oak-panelled entrance hall with an original fireplace. A quite stunning kitchen features a large island with an orangery connecting to an elegant dining room with doors on to the garden.
The gardens comprise an attractive formal layout at the front and a grander, more formal lawn with an orchard and wild garden beyond.
5 Cunningham Hill Road was marketed as a “handsome and substantial” seven bedroom Edwardian mansion, and that’s exactly what is. Behind a gated carriage driveway in a high-end and private tree-lined avenue, its impressively large rooms arranged over 7,500 sq ft of living space make it ideal for entertaining and family life.
A heated indoor swimming pool, spa bath and cinema room supplement the seven bathrooms and five reception rooms.
A key feature is the grand central hall with sweeping staircase, outstanding 37ft double living room and the massive 30ft integral garage. Upstairs, the master bedroom suite is 24ft long and comes with a walk-in dressing room and luxury bath/shower room.