Thinking Of Buying Outside London?

Thinking Of Buying Outside London?


Deciding to buy out of London is one thing, knowing where to focus your search is another. On the one hand, you’re probably making the move to get more space and for a change of lifestyle; on the other, you still want to be able to get into the capital as quick as possible and without crippling yourself with transport costs. To help focus your search (or perhaps at this stage it’s just food for thought) SLMan spoke to the experts at Savills about everything from which towns have the most manageable commutes to the areas with the most sought after schools.

For first-time buyers

More and more first-time buyers are looking beyond the capital and considering areas which sit within the commuter zone. Given that people are getting on the ladder later, it’s no surprise some are making the decision to move further out to get more space. But the travel time and cost of travelling back into London is a big factor. When you’ve been used to living in the thick of things and able to get a tube, train or bus across town, you don’t want to feel as though you’re moving somewhere which is cut off from friends, family and the lifestyle you left behind. That’s why spots like Hatfield and Reading are popular: they offer links back into London in under half an hour and monthly season tickets that are around £300 to £500. As well as better house-price value, the best places have good local amenities and interesting places to eat, drink and shop nearby.

10 Low-Mortgage Towns
Average house price: £330,276
Average travel time: 40 mins

  1. Laindon, Essex (£1,000 average monthly mortgage repayment)
  2. Slough, Berkshire (£1,132)
  3. Hatfield, Hertfordshire (£1,117)
  4. High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (£1,095)
  5. Three Bridges, West Sussex (£1,095)
  6. Reading, Berkshire (£1,103)
  7. Horley, Surrey (£1,054)
  8. Wickford, Essex (£1,191)
  9. Farnborough, Hampshire (£1,120)
  10. Chelmsford, Essex (£1,131)

For families

Many people with young or school-age children will consider making the step out of London for lifestyle reasons. Ideally, they’ll want to buy in an area that offers the golden trio: a good commute; high-performing schools; and a nice town with attractive houses and a decent high street. Epsom in Surrey is one of the places that will often come up in searches. It’s got a high number of outstanding primaries, Waterloo can be reached in under 40 minutes, and there’s a wide range of family properties from period homes through to newer-builds. Local parks for the kids, good coffee shops and premium health and leisure clubs means there’s something for everyone. Others prefer to swap city for city rather than a commuter town. Somewhere like St Albans will appeal to families who want a buzzy, lively place to live with some recognisable high-end brands and a varied property scene, from central Victorian townhouses to larger out-of-town modern mansions.

11 Towns With Outstanding Primary Schools
Average house price: £361,055
Average travel time: 1 hour

  1. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire (15 schools within 5km of station)
  2. Farnborough, Hampshire (14)
  3. Wolverton, Buckinghamshire (13)
  4. Epsom, Surrey (13)
  5. St Albans, Hertfordshire (12)
  6. Fleet, Hampshire (12)
  7. Cookham, Berkshire (10)
  8. Reading West, Berkshire (10)
  9. Swindon, Wiltshire (10)
  10. Ashstead, Surrey (10)
  11. Aldershot, Hampshire (10)

For green space

London might have 3,000 parks, but the desire for green space and an outdoor lifestyle is still obviously a major factor for wanting to leave. Many such house hunters still have jobs based in London, so a straightforward ride into work is important. Thanks to the South Downs National Park and the High Weald, East Sussex often crops up as an area for this sort of buyer. There are towns and villages lying within them that offer a commute to a mainline London station in as little as an hour. Plenty of these spots deliver on the country lifestyle with pretty villages, popular pubs, great walks and attractive housing, but will also have a big market town nearby for shopping and eating out. For example, the village of Eridge is just under five miles from Tunbridge Wells; or there’s Lewes which is just inland from Brighton. The season-ticket cost does increase, however, and tends to lie above the £5,000 mark, but with average house prices offering better value than the capital, some see that as a fair trade-off.

17 Stations Within A National Park
Average house price: £421,783​
Average travel time: 1 hour

  1. Crowhurst, High Weald
  2. Southease, South Downs National Park
  3. Battle, High Weald
  4. Ashurst New Forest, New Forest National Park
  5. Pewsey, North Wessex Downs
  6. Robertsbridge, High Weald
  7. Hungerford, North Wessex Downs
  8. Overtown, North Wessex Downs
  9. Tisbury, Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs
  10. Etchingham, High Weald
  11. Cholsey, North Wessex Downs
  12. Cooksbridge, South Downs National Park
  13. Stonegate, High Weald
  14. Liss, South Downs National Park
  15. Lewes, South Downs National Park
  16. Eridge, High Weald
  17. Petersfield, South Downs National Park

For a short commute

Despite being just several miles wide, some people find that living on one side of London and working on the other entails a cross-town commute of an hour or so. The prospect of living as much as 50 miles from London, but being able to reach the city in just over half an hour, can be an eye-opener for buyers. Ashford in Kent is one such area. That you can also get to another top European City, Paris, from the same station makes it a pretty attractive idea. Nearby, there’s lots going on to improve the residential and retail scene; there’s a large designer outlet; and some historic villages which could tick the country-living box. Again, the season-ticket price ranges upwards of £5,000, but for many buyers the lure of a home on the outer fringes of the home counties is more than enough.

10 Stations With A Sub-40 Minute Commute
Average house price: £302,552​

  1. Reading, Berkshire (27 mins to Paddington)
  2. Biggleswade, Bedfordshire (31 mins to Kings Cross)
  3. Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire (32 mins to Euston)
  4. Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire (34 mins to Kings Cross)
  5. Ashford, Kent (36 mins to St Pancras)
  6. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire (37 mins to Euston)
  7. Royston, Hertfordshire (38 mins to Kings Cross)
  8. Arlesey, Bedfordshire (38 mins to Kings Cross)
  9. Baldock, Hertfordshire (38 mins to Kings Cross)
  10. Bletchley, Buckinghamshire (39 mins to Euston)

Fastest by London mainline station 

Often Londoners who are moving out will work out which mainline station works best for getting to their workplace, and begin their search that way. Their house hunt will tend to follow a compass point: for example, if someone’s office is near Charing Cross, it’ll be places in Kent and to the south east of London they will focus on. Most of the quickest journeys to mainline stations are around half an hour, in some cases that even falls to around 20 minutes. If this is someone’s focus, then areas like Sevenoaks (Kent), Shenfield (Essex), Gerrards Cross (Bucks) and Esher (Surrey) will be among the top places to move to. However, because of their popularity, living in these areas does come at a price. A buyer can expect to pay as much as £1m to live in Gerrards Cross, though there are some spots where the figure is closer to the £600k-£700k mark.

London Bridge / Victoria
Average house price: £433,982

  1. Oxted (33 mins)
  2. Three Bridges (36 mins)
  3. Hurst Green (36 mins)
  4. Horley (36 mins)

Charing Cross / Cannon Street
Average house price: £460,696​

  1. Sevenoaks (34 mins)
  2. Hildenborough (40 mins)
  3. Tonbridge (46 mins)
  4. High Brooms (53 mins)

Average house price: £419,003​

  1. Hemel Hempstead (26 mins)
  2. Apsley (28 mins)
  3. Berkhamsted (31 mins)
  4. Leighton Buzzard (32 mins)

Fenchurch Street
Average house price: £281,280​

  1. West Horndon (32 mins)
  2. Ockendon (33 mins)
  3. Laindon (34 mins)
  4. Basildon (37 mins)

Kings Cross
Average house price: £375,787​

  1. Welwyn North (21 mins)
  2. Welwyn Garden City (21 mins)
  3. Knebworth (23 mins)
  4. Hatfield (24 mins)
  5. Stevenage (24 mins)

Liverpool Street
Average house price: £529,211​

  1. Shenfield (29 mins)
  2. Ingatestone (31 mins)
  3. Broxbane (32 mins)
  4. Billericay (32 mins)

Average house price: £831,849​

  1. Gerrards Cross (22 mins)
  2. Denham (25 mins)
  3. Beaconsfield (25 mins)
  4. Rickmansworth (26 mins)

Average house price: £378,930​

  1. Slough (21 mins)
  2. Maidenhead (24 mins)
  3. Reading (27 mins)
  4. Iver (29 mins)

St Pancras
Average house price: £540,929​

  1. Ebbsfleet (19 mins)
  2. St Albans (19 mins)
  3. Radlett (22 mins)
  4. Harpenden (23 mins)
  5. Gravesend (23 mins)

Average house price: £645,455

  1. Esher (23 mins)
  2. Hersham (26 mins)
  3. Woking (27 mins)
  4. Hinchley Wood (28 mins)

Average house price: £539,192​

  1. Cuffley (34 mins)
  2. Hertford (42 mins)
  3. Bayford (46 mins)
  4. Watton-at-Stone (49 mins)

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