This delightful Hertfordshire town has a lot going for it – great schools, good connections to London, large Edwardian family homes and a thriving high street bustling with independent shops and cafes. So it’s not surprising that demand for property here is high…
Situated between Luton and St Albans, Harpenden is just 25 miles north of London but seems a world away, with its tree-lined streets and green open spaces.
It has managed to retain the feel of a quintessential English village, yet has all the local amenities you’d expect of a town with a population of around 30,000, many of whom are young families. Its mix of charm and quirkiness appeals to many seeking an easy commute to the capital.
With Strutt & Parker recording a year-on-year increase in house viewings of 133%, and new sales instructions up 172%, why do so many people want to bag a property in Harpenden?
Well-connected and well-educated
Harpenden is only 7 miles from Luton Airport, making it handy for business or leisure travel, and it’s also close to both the M1 and M25 motorways. But it’s the rail links that make it really appealing to commuters, with the Thameslink service to London St Pancras taking less than 30 minutes. With all the problems that have beset Southern Rail in recent months, many workers looking to relocate consider a Thameslink journey less of a nightmare.
Another major reason why Harpenden is so attractive to buyers is that it’s where you’ll find three of the country’s top-performing state schools – Sir John Lawes, St George’s and Roundwood Park. Outstanding exam results draw many parents who want to live in the catchment area.
To address the high demand for school places, a new secondary free school is being built in Batford on the outskirts of Harpenden. Katherine Warington School is due to open in September 2019.
A vibrant shopping and leisure scene
The town’s spacious tree-lined high street is packed with independent boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants offering everything from Thai and Indian to classic British pub grub.
Harpenden, which has held Fairtrade Town status since 2008, also holds a vibrant farmers’ market on every fourth Sunday of the month, with a delicious array of homemade pies, preserves and cheeses.
Walk down to Harpenden Common and you’re like to catch some sort of sporting activity going on, from cricket and bowls to golf and football. And if you want to keep up your exercise routine, Harpenden Sports Centre has two swimming pools, a gym, badminton courts, and outdoor floodlit tennis, hockey and 5-a-side football pitches.
Family fun in the great outdoors
Nature is a big draw for families moving to the area who are looking for a better quality of life away from the big city. There are plenty of outdoor spaces and countryside activities to keep the kids off their smartphones and games consoles for a while.
A disused railway line has been developed into a scenic walking and cycling route, while Batford Springs Nature Reserve is an ideal place to play or relax.
Harpenden also has a full calendar of events for families to enjoy. Rothamsted Park plays host to Harpenden Carnival and the Highland Gathering each summer, while the Herts 10K starts and finishes at Rothamsted Research Centre. The Batford Duck Race is also ‘quacking’ good fun!
Property market for would-be buyers
Harpenden offers a wide range of property types, from large detached Edwardian family homes to newbuild flats. While many buyers who move to Harpenden are from London, there are others looking to either upsize or downsize.
The Avenues has some of the most desirable properties in the area thanks to its central location and closeness to the station. There’s also strong demand for the Poets, East Common and West Common areas, where homes sell for between £1.5 million and £4 million.
It’s possible to find more affordable modern two-bedroom houses to the east of the railway line, while just behind the high street, the Foresters development has a two-bedroom apartment available for under £500,000. Elsewhere, Welcombe House is a brand new development of two and three-bedroom apartments built on the site of the former Harpenden House Hotel.
3 Windy Nook - An attractive, three bedroom, character home surrounded by open countryside, yet within easy reach of Harpenden.
33 Holly Walk - A beautifully presented, modern home in a convenient location for excellent local schools and Harpenden train station.