Rugby, Berkhamsted, Milton Keynes and Bletchley: four good-value commuter towns with direct links to Euston

Rugby, Berkhamsted, Milton Keynes and Bletchley offer fast and hassle-free journeys to London Euston - and good-value house prices...
Euston is London’s oldest railway terminus and, in its early days, trains were hauled by cable to Camden because nearby residents could not tolerate the steam trains’ noise and smoke.
 
Today it is considered one of the capital’s most vital hubs, with more than 30 million passengers passing through each year. And that number looks set to increase once HS2 arrives, making commuting much quicker.
 
There are 11 stations between Euston and Rugby that are within an hour’s reach of London. We look at four.
 
 
RUGBY
For commuters who don’t want to relinquish urban life, the Warwickshire town of Rugby hits the sweet spot of being within an hour of the capital and having highly affordable house prices, according to a Savills report.
 
It has also seen decent price growth in the past year. The average property price stands at £193,212, up 8.8 per cent in the past 12 months. An annual season ticket to Rugby costs £5,640, and the journey to London takes 50 minutes.
 
Rugby is, of course, home to the eponymous independent school where the game was first played in 1823, but state education here is good, too.
 
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£750,000: an impressive six-bedroom detached Georgian home set across three floors in Coventry Road, Rugby

A two-bedroom Victorian terrace house close to the train station would cost about £130,000 to £135,000, while six-bedroom, detached Victorian villas five to 10 minutes south of the station go for £500,000-£600,000.
 
Those looking for a lifestyle change should avoid the new builds on the perimeter and opt for pretty villages such as Dunchurch, which is only three miles south of the town centre.

READ MORE: DISCOVER THE TOP TEN MOST AFFORDLE COMMUTER TOWNS WITHIN AN HOUR OF LONDON


BERKHAMSTED
Affluent Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire has seen the strongest bounce back from the recession, with prices up 20.5 per cent since 2007 to an average of £433,203. One of its key selling points is its commute — a 30-minute journey into London, with an annual season ticket priced at £3,676.
 
“Berkhamsted has got the whole package,” says Nick Ingle, head of Savills in Harpenden.
 
“It offers a really fast commute — and you get a seat on the train. Plus the High Street is historic and attractive. It has got a Waitrose, a huge M&S food hall and some lovely boutiques, restaurants and shops — all the trappings for the London buyer.”
 
Berkhamsted’s appeal also extends to the vast countryside surrounding it, notably the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate, a delight for walkers.
 
Property in the town centre is largely Victorian, and Ingle estimates that a two-bedroom cottage would cost about £350,000 to £400,000.
 
A four-bedroom house would be priced about £750,000 and, on the outskirts, a five- to six-bedroom detached home — either a Victorian pile or a contemporary trophy home — would cost upwards of £2 million. 


MILTON KEYNES
A recent report by property consultants CBRE named this post-war new town as one of the most buoyant locations in Britain. It is the fastest-growing area in Europe, with its population projected to rise by eight per cent in the next five years, which works out at about 13 new residents moving in every day.
 
“Our average sale time is 22 days from bringing a house on to the market to agreeing an offer,” says Robert Hodgson, branch manager of Taylors Executive Homes.
 

“The market is taking off and a lot of it is about people moving out of London and places such as St Albans, where prices are higher.”
 
Milton Keynes may be considered a fledgling town compared to others in Britain, but it has masses going on with a theatre, an art gallery, outdoor music venue the National Bowl, indoor skiing and snowboarding at Xscape, and an orchestra. The gardens at National Trust Stowe are lovely, and there are more than 400 shops in the town centre.
 
Schools include Castlethorpe First School and Oakgrove, both rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.  The journey time to London is 35 minutes and an annual season ticket costs £4,888.
 
A four-bedroom period house in one of the surrounding villages would cost about £500,000. For younger house hunters, a two-bedroom flat in the centre would cost £180,000 to £200,000.


BLETCHLEY
Overall the location that has enjoyed the strongest annual price growth is Milton Keynes’s close neighbour, Bletchley, with prices rising 14.3 per cent year on year to an average of £197,061. A journey from Bletchley to London takes about 39 minutes, and an annual season ticket costs £4,228.
 
While Bletchley offers some Victorian property, much of its stock was built as council housing in the Fifties. 
 
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Offers over £500,000: this three-bedroom cottage in Bletchley is full of charm

Local schools are a little variable, but St Thomas Aquinas Primary is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted. You can pick up a three-bedroom Victorian semi for about £250,000.
 
The recent regeneration of the town, including improvements to its high street, station and parks, is starting to bear fruit in making the area a more “welcoming” place for buyers. Even Hollywood may have played a part. 
 
“The Imitation Game — the film with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley about Second World War code breakers at Bletchley Park — has brought a bit of good publicity to Bletchley,” says Hodgson.

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