Commuter hotspots:family homes priced from £140k in Wellingborough and Kettering

Eager to jump on the property ladder, many house hunters are now casting their eye to affordable Northamptonshire, just 60 miles from London. With trains from Wellingborough and Kettering less than an hour from the city, both areas offer great value for money.

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As London commuters are pushed out ever further in search of a house they can afford to buy, Northamptonshire is joining more fashionable shire counties on their radar.

With swifter train links to the capital than many parts of Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, this East Midlands county, 60 miles from London, offers property bargains. 

Buyers can pick up a handsome five-bedroom Victorian villa for the price of an uninspiring two-bedroom London flat. But the area needs to be affordable, given the train fares commuters must pay. 

Exclusive research by Savills on Wellingborough and Kettering — two Northamptonshire towns less than an hour from St Pancras by train — shows that prices are on the up after a long, hard recession.

Wellingborough for a friendly community

Property in the ancient market town of Wellingborough has risen 6.6 per cent in the past year to an average of £150,757 — an increase that has finally brought the town back to its peak price levels of 2007.

The commute takes a relatively snappy 45 minutes, with an annual season ticket a stinging £5,916. The Government has committed to funding the electrification of the Midland Main Line, to be completed by about 2023, which will cut a bit off the journey time.

Wellingborough is more of a working town than a cutesy tourist trap and its Seventies town centre is decent, though dull. 

However, Wellingborough is still small enough to be a friendly place to live, and it more than passes the green space test, with Irchester Country Park and Sywell Country Park offering, between them, more than 200 acres to explore.

School standards vary, but there are some excellent choices led by Weston Favell CofE Primary School, Redwell Primary School, and Sir Christopher Hatton School, for seniors, which are all rated “outstanding” by the Ofsted education watchdog. 

House prices in Wellingborough are enough to make a Londoner weep. Alan Marshall, director of Marshall & Cross estate agents, says commuters are just starting to cotton on to the fact that a three-bedroom Victorian house near the station would cost about £125,000 to £140,000, while you could pick up a three-storey, five-bedroom terrace in the same area from about £140,000 to £250,000.

Kettering for great value homes

A little further down the line from London is Kettering, another market town on the rise.

According to Savills, an average property is now worth £157,429, up 5.5 per cent in the past year. This increase has pushed prices above their 2007 peak.

The 53-minute commute from Kettering to London is even more expensive than the trip from Wellingborough — an annual season ticket costs £6,580. But Kettering’s largely Victorian housing stock, a legacy of its past as an affluent centre of Northamptonshire’s shoe-making industry, is affordable.

The town centre is more scenic than Wellingborough’s, with a large market square, mostly pedestrianised shopping streets and newly opened Yards Exchange, a complex of small independent shops. 

Simon Musto, owner of Simon Musto Sales and Lettings, says about half of his buyers now come from London — a mix of commuters, retirees and job changers, as Kettering is handy for both Milton Keynes and Birmingham.

In town, the smartest location is around the Headlands area and Hawthorn Road, where £500,000 will buy a four- to six-bedroom Victorian pile, and £200,000 will secure a four-bedroom Victorian terrace. This area is particularly popular for its urban village feel.

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