With a four-day weekend coming up, this is the ideal time to begin a house hunt. The spring market has woken up and there are plenty of properties for sale in every price bracket, from edgy central London neighbourhoods to leafy commuter villages and market towns. Here is our guide for house hunters with budgets of less than £250,000, £350,000 and £500,000.
LESS THAN £250,000: IN LONDON
This is a gritty area that is growing in popularity with those priced out of Clapham and East Dulwich thanks to its great City train links. The best houses are on the Corbett Estate east of the town centre, where two- bedroom flats are about £250,000.
Upside: gentrification is on the way.
Downside: but not for a while. The town centre could do with some TLC.
THE HOUSE HUNT: HOMES FOR SALE IN LONDON AND COMMUTER HOTSPOTS
Easter house hunting on a budget: find the right home in the city or the country
Easter house hunting on a budget: find the right home in the city or the country
1/17 Catford, SE6
£230,000: this two-bedroom flat features a balcony, communal garden and laminate flooring.
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2/17 Charlton Village, SE7
£250,000: this spacious three-bedroom flat is comes with a fitted kitchen and private balcony. It's also close to the shops and amenities of Charlton and Blackheath.
> Search for more houses and flats in Charlton
3/17 Lee, SE12
£200,000: this two-bedroom upper-floor maisonette is close to shops, parks and train stations. It has a large corner driveway and garden.
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4/17 Kemptown, Brighton
£240,000: located on the seafront, this two-bedroom flat has sea views and views of the pier.
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5/17 Bovingdon, Hertfordshire
£148,500: set in a quiet cul de sac, this one-bedroom first floor flat is within walking distance of Bovingdon village, which offers a selection of shops, restaurants and other amenities.
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6/17 Arundel, West Sussex
£250,000: open and light, this three-bedroom terraced house has front and rear gardens and a garage. It's close to the local school and woodland.
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7/17 Plumstead, SE18
£285,000: this three-bedroom semi-detached bungalow features wood style laminate flooring, french windows and a fireplace.
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8/17 Blackheath, SE3
£325,000: this two-bedroom flat is bright and airy and comes with a large reception room. It's close to the shops and cafes of both Greenwich and Blackheath.
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9/17 Noel Park, N22
£339,995: a two-bedroom, ground-floor maisonette with a private garden and high ceilings.
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10/17 Cheam, Surrey
£289,950: this two-bedroom, first-floor maisonette is situated in the heart of Cheam Village, close to Cheam station and its shops, restaurants and amenities.
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11/17 Brentwood, Essex
£310,000: a lovely end-of-terrace period cottage that has an extended ground floor, spacious reception and dining area, three bedrooms and a large rear garden.
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12/17 Saffron Walden, Essex
£340,000: located on the edge of Saffron Walden's town centre, this three-bedroom detached home is open plan and comes with a large rear garden.
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13/17 Walthamstow Village, E17
£400,000: this beautifully restored Victorian house has three bedrooms, stripped wood flooring, sash windows and reclaimed cast iron fireplaces.
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14/17 West Ealing, W13
£420,000: a modern, two-bedroom maisonette, this property offers a private garden and double reception room.
> Search for more houses and flats in West Ealing
15/17 Bloomsbury, WC1
£499,999: recently refurbished, this open plan one-bedroom flat is set in a period conversion. Close to all the excellent amenities of central London.
> Search for more houses and flats in Bloomsbury
16/17 Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
£440,000: a five-bedroom townhouse featuring exposed beams, alcoves and a cast iron fireplace.
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17/17 Wadhurst, East Sussex
£360,000: located in the village of Wadhurst, this large, extended family home has three bedrooms, a driveway and garden access through French doors.
> Search for more new houses and flats in Wadhurst
Based in south-east London, this is an up-and-coming enclave with trains to London Bridge that take 16 minutes. The high street is compact but useful and there are some decent local pubs and an open air lido. Two-bedroom flats in Victorian conversions are priced at about £250,000.
Upside: excellent primary schools.
Downside: not big on café culture, but nothing is far away.
Often overlooked, this suburb sits close to Blackheath and Hither Green with many credentials of urban villagedom. It has a pretty park, with regular farmers’ markets and quality gastro-pubs. Brindishe Lee Primary School has an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating. With a £250,000 budget, you could pick up a two-bedroom flat within a fine Victorian house.
Upside: a 13-minute train journey to London Bridge.
Downside: the dreary high street.
LESS THAN £250,000: COMMUTER OPTIONS
Get some sea air and pick up a two-bedroom flat in a period house in Brighton’s gay heartland, stuffed with bars and quirky shops, close to the seafront and an easy walk to the city centre for about £200,000.
Upside: cosmopolitan life beyond the capital.
Downside: seafront homes need a good deal of maintenance.
This is a quality village on the edge of the Chilterns, with excellent local facilities, including three pubs and shops. Two-bedroom cottages are priced at about £250,000, although family houses will cost more like £500,000. Trains from Hemel Hempstead take from 26 minutes to reach Euston, and a season ticket costs £4,412.
Upside: the village possesses an Ofsted-outstanding primary school.
Downside: it’s not very picture postcard pretty.
Arundel, West Sussex
A great mix of café culture, a castle and a cathedral, Arundel sits within the South Downs National Park and Londoners are attracted by the high-performing state schools. Three-bedroom houses (modern and Victorian) are priced from about £250,000.
Upside: a thriving arts scene, with an annual festival each August.
Downside: 90-minute commute and an annual season ticket that costs £4,256.
LESS THAN £500,000: IN LONDON
London village lifestyle on a relative shoestring, 10 minutes’ walk from Walthamstow Central station, with some tempting cafés and interesting shops. You can find workers’ cottages priced at about £500,000 and two-bedroom flats for about £300,000.
Upside: village shops include a butchers and a bakers.
Downside: the rest of Walthamstow remains rough around the edges.
Get on the Crossrail bandwagon in this rapidly improving west London outpost, where two-bedroom flats are about £400,000. The nicest property is in the St Stephen’s Conservation Area, a pocket of Victorian and Edwardian semis on tree-lined streets.
Upside: green space provided by Drayton Green.
Downside: family houses cost from £850,000.
If you simply must have a central London address, then Bloomsbury is a relatively under-the-radar spot. Jonathan Hudson, director of Hudsons, says that a £500,000 budget would secure a one-bedroom mansion flat. “More value for money comes from ex-council flats,” he adds.
Upside: some of Bloomsbury’s gems include the Renoir Cinema and Bloomsbury Square gardens.
Downside: you don’t get much space for your money.
LESS THAN £500,000: COMMUTER OPTIONS
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
A fine market town less than 40 minutes from Liverpool Street station. Families move there to get their children into The Hertfordshire & Essex High School for girls and seniors, or The Bishop’s Stortford High School for boys. Properties are good value, with three to four-bedroom modern houses priced between £450,000 and £500,000, while an annual season ticket costs £4,952.
Upside: Cambridge is a short train ride for nights out and shopping.
Downside: some homes in town suffer flightpath noise from Stansted.
Wadhurst, East Sussex
Set within the beauties of the Weald, this is a lovely market town within a couple of miles of Bewl Water, an enormous reservoir with opportunities for sailing, windsurfing and rowing. The High Street has a great range of traditional shops, pubs and cafés. The average property price stands at £509,198, according to Zoopla. Trains to Charing Cross take 63 minutes.
Upside: quality schools, including Uplands Community College (seniors) and Wadhurst CE Primary School.
Downside: an annual season ticket costs £5,292