Balham and Tooting
SW12 is located about 5 miles south of central London, between the various commons of south west London. Directly to the north is Clapham Common, to the east is Tooting Common, and to the west is Wandsworth Common. It has been said that Balham and Tooting have in fact nothing in common except for their Commons.
Most of Balham is in the London Borough of Wandsworth, although the SW12 postcode also includes the Hyde Farm area east of Cavendish Road within Lambeth. Balham became popular due to three main factors: 1. efficient transport links to the City, 2. a good supply of Victorian and Edwardian properties and 3. attractive green space within easy reach. These factors have helped make it an increasingly popular location, and property prices have soared as middle class professionals moved in, causing the district to lose some of the working class atmosphere. Tooting Broadway is cheaper, more cosmopolitan and has a more local feel. Balham's town centre now exhibits an increasingly vibrant night life with a variety of bars and restaurants. The busy thoroughfare of Balham High Road has been enlivened by Asian outlets selling foodstuffs and clothes. Balham has also been one of the main centres of the Polish community in London since the 1950s.
Balham is mostly Victorian, while Tooting is Edwardian, with a few older homes in both areas. Terraced houses of all sizes (some are very large on the Heaver Estate) plus conversions. There are many inter-war suburban homes, areas of 80's, 90's and current 'developer' housing, as well as a plethora of smart new flats.
Traditionally first time buyers were attracted to SW12 as well as families seeking bigger, affordable homes. There are a large proportion of young professionals. Nightingale Triangle and Heaver Estate, and now a swathe of new homes, are big and even 'grand'. New flats and mews make Balham cool. There is also a well-established Asian community in Balham. Today the Somali, Pakistani and Brazilian communities are also strongly represented in the wards making up modern Balham.