The top 20 commuter spots for priced-out Londoners

London’s first-time buyers are heading to the home counties in search of good-value homes and leafy streets.

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Shepperton: one of the leafy Surrey destinations luring Londoners from the city. Image: Alamy

Spelthorne in Surrey has emerged as the number one destination for priced-out Londoners leaving the capital in search of good-value homes and leafy streets.

The borough is less-well known than the towns it covers — such as recently rebranded Staines-upon-Thames and Shepperton, home of the studios where Bridget Jones’s Diary and Knightley’s Bend it Like Beckham were filmed. London émigrés spent an average £761,405 on homes there in the last 12 months, says a new report.The second most popular option is Elmbridge, another Surrey borough which includes the more upmarket options of Esher, Walton-on-Thames and Weybridge. The average spend there was £811,317.

 
For many, though, the only way is Essex, with Thurrock (£179,288) and Epping (£411,204), both in the top five, along with Hertsmere, in Hertfordshire (£361,725).
 



IMAGE GALLERY: THE TOP 20 COMMUTER SPOTS FOR PRICED-OUT LONDONERS


 


Johnny Morris, head of research at Hamptons International, who drew up the table based on sales data from the Countrywide Group for the past 12 months, said London’s first-time buyers are heading to the home counties, “because first-time buyers are getting older and are happier to leave, especially if it means they can buy a house.”
 
The exodus is growing, but in general, Londoners move a maximum of 26 miles from their current address.
 
Spelthorne is popular because it is the cheapest part of Surrey, with excellent transport links and some strong schools. Trains from Staines-upon-Thames reach Waterloo in 34 minutes, with an annual season ticket costing £2,236, while services from Shepperton take from 51 minutes. Trains from Sunbury, also in the borough, take from 46 minutes.
 
Top schools include The Magna Carta and Thamesmead, both for seniors, and both rated “good” by Ofsted.
 

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The River Thames runs through Shepparton. Image: Alamy


Michael Sharp, sales manager at Townends estate agents, based in Staines, is seeing newcomers from Chiswick and Ealing and feels the regeneration is encouraging, in what some might regard as a dull town. “Because the market is strong now, a lot of developers are starting to take on vacant sites,” he said. “There is a lot of improvement in Staines.”
 
The average spend of just over £760,000 will buy a six-bedroom detached Victorian villa, he says. For £500,000 buyers could get a three-bedroom period semi-detached house, and £200,000 would buy a one- or two-bedroom modern flat.
 
The top 20 locations identified in today’s study also include seaside destinations Brighton, Hastings and Southend, and classic affluent commuter magnets St Albans and Sevenoaks.

While the biggest spenders were in Elmbridge, the least expensive option emerges as Medway in Kent, with an average buying price of £167,744.


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