Mews of the world: what makes these tiny properties so desirable?

by Housesimple on 3rd March 2018

Believe it or not, but mews houses – those small homes and converted stables gathered around quaint alleys and courtyards – have recently seen a surge of popularity due to a BBC drama. Thanks to McMafia, in which the lead character lives in one of these charming properties, there's been a spike in mews-related enquiries. It has also helped that the actual house from the show recently went up for sale, sparking a slew of press.

Aside from this recent starring role, mews houses have plenty to offer interested buyers. Whether you're looking for a quiet nook away from the main thoroughfare, or a little valuable piece of history, here are a few reasons why a mews home might be right up your street.

Privacy

One of the factors that define mews houses are that they're literally set apart – away from busy main streets, and often come with small courtyards in which you can have your own outdoor idyll.

Even where there are several properties clustered together, the lack of foot or road traffic passing through often makes for great community spirit. This is especially good news for anyone starting a family in the city.

History

The off-street setting of these properties is related to their historical purpose. As cities created fancy squares for well-to-do residents, they needed space for staff, horses and carriages. The solution was the humble mews – properties that were clustered together to hide their contents but had enough room for workers and their families.

It’s perhaps these origins that explain the range of period features often found in mews properties, despite them rarely being subject to the stringent 'listed building' laws of their statelier siblings.

Personality

As aristocratic families declined, mews properties began to fall into disrepair. Yet these humble homes soon found a new lease of life. In the '50s and '60s, artists and outsiders took them on as affordable residences, bringing fresh ideas about how to repurpose them.

It’s this spirit that has inspired subsequent resurgences, from artistic tributes to celebrated residents, to smart extended spaces in London’s luxury ‘super-mews’ stock.

Value

Statistics show that the name of your road and property has a very real effect on its value. A 2010 study by Zoopla found that ‘mews’ residential suffixes were some of the most exclusive in the UK. What's more, mews homes in London have skyrocketed in value over the past 20 years, increasing almost sevenfold despite their petite size.