Buy here, make money

In part two of our se­ries, Ruth Bloom­field re­veals more Top 20 com­muter spots out­side London of­fer­ing good value and price growth

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Commuting -

WHILE prop­erty price rises have been patchy in London, in the home coun­ties it’s a rosier pic­ture. The yawn­ing gulf in prices be­yond the M25 and within London is keep­ing de­mand steady and cap­i­tal growth healthy in lo­ca­tions with well- priced fam­ily homes.

Look­ing at the 20 best-per­form­ing com­muter op­tions within an hour’s train jour­ney of London, based on data from Hamp­tons In­ter­na­tional, Homes & Prop­erty fo­cuses this week on a his­toric cathe­dral city, two coun­try vil­lages and an on-the-up out­post of the Thames Es­tu­ary. Each of these very dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions has en­joyed eight per cent price growth in the last 12 months. Av­er­age prop­erty price: £235,645 Price in­crease since 2007: 40 per cent Av­er­age price for a house: £263,962 Train jour­ney time: 38 min­utes

PART his­toric town, part re­gen­er­a­tion hotspot, this small cathe­dral city ticks all the boxes with a sur­pris­ingly quick com­mute. Rochester is fa­mous as the set­ting for sev­eral Charles Dick­ens nov­els and it at­tracts its share of tourists thanks to its good looks, the sky­line dom­i­nated by the cas­tle and the cathe­dral, and streets full of tea shops and gas­trop­ubs.

The High Street passes the in­de­pen­dent shop­ping test, with bou­tiques, an­tiques shops and art gal­leries, while the monthly flea mar­ket is a great place for vin­tage finds and lo­cal crafts. And, sit­ting at the point where the North Downs and Kent Downs col­lide, there is coun­try­side aplenty, with the the sea­side at Whit­stable a 30-mile drive away.

Rochester Gram­mar School, for girls, and Sir Joseph Williamson’s Math­e­mat­i­cal School, a boys’ gram­mar, are Ofsted “out­stand­ing”.

Homes vary from new-build flats to some re­ally beau­ti­ful his­toric houses around the cas­tle and a range of very solid Vic­to­rian homes, all very handy for the sta­tion. Ex­pect to pay about £210,000 for a mod­ern two-bed­room flat, £230,000 to £260,000 for a three-bed­room Vic­to­rian ter­race and up to £700,000 for a grand Vic­to­rian de­tached house in the town cen­tre with five to six bed­rooms.

Along­side its tra­di­tional charms, Rochester is also the fo­cal point for hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds of in­ward in­vest­ment. London com­muters are al­ready feel­ing the ben­e­fit of their new £26 mil­lion sta­tion, and the 52-acre Rochester River­side where 1,400 new homes will be built over the next 10 to 15 years in a new com­mu­nity with shops, restau­rants and a school. De­vel­oper Coun­try­side and hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion Hyde put in an ap­pli­ca­tion for plan­ning con­sent for this vast project this sum­mer. A de­ci­sion is ex­pected in the next few months and the scheme will take about 12 years. Av­er­age prop­erty price: £414,014 Price in­crease since 2007: 44 per cent Av­er­age price for a house: £494,191 Train jour­ney time: 41 min­utes

THE neigh­bour­ing vil­lages of Stanstead St Mar­garets and Stanstead Ab­botts, both served by St Mar­garets sta­tion, are on op­po­site banks of the River Lee Nav­i­ga­tion in east Hert­ford­shire.

They also share a school and a small but use­ful high street with a cou­ple of neigh­bour­hood restau­rants. St An­drews CE (VC) Pri­mary School is rated “good” by Ofsted. On sunny af­ter­noons there are few nicer spots than the river­side pa­tio gar­den at the Jolly Fish­er­man inn. Lucky vil­lagers who have a moor­ing at Stanstead Ma­rina spend their down­time pot­ter­ing up and down the river.

Be­tween the towns of Ware and Hod­des­don, the vil­lages have so far avoided face­less ur­ban sprawl. Their set­ting within the Lee Val­ley Re­gional Park puts first-rate sports fa­cil­i­ties, from horse rid­ing to cy­cling and white wa­ter raft­ing, on the doorstep.

A di­rect line to Liver­pool Street sta­tion makes the vil­lages pop­u­lar with City work­ers. Al­most the first “true” vil­lages for com­muters head­ing north out of London, they of­fer value and a real com­mu­nity. There are old cot­tages, mod­ern ex­ec­u­tive homes and manor houses. A three-bed­room Vic­to­rian or Ed­war­dian house will be about £400,000. If you want a good view of the river you’ll pay a premium of about 15 per cent for the priv­i­lege.

mod­ern flats on the Thames Es­tu­ary at Grays in Es­sex, left, and the Lee Nav­i­ga­tion at St Mar­garets, Herts

Wa­ter world:

Sense of his­tory: a view at dusk across the River Med­way of Rochester Cas­tle and the cathe­dral

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.