London is an expensive capital city, and many homeowners seeking to upgrade their properties have to look outside the city to find an affordable new home. But where should you look? Let’s take a look at 4 of the best options out there for new buyers. |
Looking to buy? And your first time? Well, unless you’ve just landed in the giant’s goose’s nest and found it overflowing with golden eggs, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll be looking to London as a moving option any time soon.
After all, prices in the capital are high. The average price for a terraced house was in excess of £600,000 in 2016, while across the country as a whole, the average was around £270,000. That is a big difference, and likely to have a strong impact on new buyers looking for their first mortgage.
But with so many people working in London, there’s a fair chance that a commuter town outside of the capital may be your only option. Here are a few suggestions that might be right for someone working in London, but not in a position to shell out a hefty deposit on a house -- or even flat -- in the capital.
1. Witham, Essex
Witham in Essex is just 45 minutes from the capital, with trains going directly to Liverpool Street station. In this town, it’s possible to find houses for £215,000 or a flat for £159,000, while the commute is a similar length of time to that of anyone living in London’s tube-zone four or five.
2. Kettering, Northamptonshire
If you’re set on driving to London, Kettering - at more than two hours away - is not the choice for you. However, with high-speed rail, it is possible to go from this quaint town to St. Pancras station in under an hour.
Home to many scenes from cult-classic, Peep Show, the average price for a semi-detached house is £174,000, terraces are £143,000, and flats are just £110,000. Season tickets on the tracks can be a bit pricey - about £6,600 - but this can be made up for with the much cheaper house prices.
3. Amersham, Buckinghamshire
According to city workers’ daily, City AM, Amersham is perhaps the best option for London commuters who are looking for a haunt outside the eye-wateringly expensive capital.
Unlike some of the other places on this list, Amersham has its very own underground tube station and, as such, is a relatively easy 59 minute commute (give or take). The schools are good and the houses are cheaper than those you’ll find on tube lines in more central locations.
4. Snodland, Kent
At just 50 minutes from London, Snodland in Kent -- largely a cheaper county than Essex, or Surrey -- is a bit of a steal. There are only 11,000 inhabitants and a rail season ticket is just over £4,000 a year.
There are 48 trains every weekday that go to London, as well as the nearby towns of Rochester and Maidstone. The town is a little over 30 miles from the capital, and average prices are £160,000 for flats, £246,000 for semi-detached homes, and £211,000 for terraces.
Look for a best-fit solution
At the end of the day, there are lots of options available for people who need to be near to London, but don’t have the money -- or inclination -- to shell out the best part of a million pounds on a small property in zone two or three.
It’s true that long commutes between the so-called “commuter belt” and London tend to get a bad reputation, but this ignores the fact that workers are free of the capital’s pressures over the weekend. And there’s nothing like the fresh air of the countryside to help you relax.
This list is by no means exhaustive, nor are the locations the furthest away from London. With easy rail connections, and remote working as a more available option, many also choose to live in other cities, such as Bristol or Birmingham. Just make sure to choose the best option for you (and to buy a Kindle for those long train journeys!).
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