The spring house hunt: how to find the right home in the city or the country to suit your budget

Looking for a new home on a budget this Easter weekend? The spring market is thriving with plenty of properties for all price brackets. Here's our pick of the best from London to commuter market towns...

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. 



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.


Charlton Village 
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.



Kemptown, Brighton

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.

Bovingdon, Hertfordshire
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.

Walthamstow Village offers neat workers' cottages from £500,000.


Walthamstow Village 

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.

West Ealing 
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.


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

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