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
Average property price: £761,405
£695,000: a modern three-bedroom home in Shepperton with river views towards Walton Bridge.
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Average property price: £811,317
£795,000: a charming cottage in a rural setting with cosy interiors and south-facing garden.
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Average property price: £179,288
£220,000: a spacious three-bedroom family home in a sought-after modern development.
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4/20 Epping Forest
Average property price: £411,204
£425,000: a luxury two-bedroom flat with communal gardens and open-plan living space.
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Average property price: £361,725
£369,000: a refurbished period cottage in the idyllic village of Letchmore Heath.
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6/20 Epsom and Ewell
Average property price: £466,461
£465,000: situated in a popular tree-lined street, this two-bedroom home has retained many of its original Thirties features.
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Average property price: £167,744
£200,000: an immaculate period townhouse with modern interiors and stylish kitchen.
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8/20 Welwyn Hatfield
Average property price: £552,325
£595,000: a three-bedroom property with a generous garden, close to the town centre.
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9/20 Brighton and Hove
Average property price: £349,276
£365,000: a two-bedroom flat with access to communal pool, sauna and tennis courts.
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Average property price: £330,421
£374,995: a three-bedroom detached home in a private cul-de-sac with a large rear garden.
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Average property price: £192,052
£210,000: a Victorian terrace house in a lovely quiet location with an easy walk into the centre of town.
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12/20 Reigate and Banstead
Average property price: £399,325
£375,000: a unqiue three-bedrom masonette with parking for two cars in Nutfield.
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Average property price: £460,000
£475,000: a five-bedroom home with modern interiors as well as original Art Deco features.
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Average property price: £477,615
£475,000: a two-bedroom loft apartment with exposed brickwork and beams plus a private balcony.
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Average property price: £236,008
£240,000: a two-bedroom new-build home close to Laindon.
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Average property price: £375,286
£425,000: a delightful period home with a cellar and rear garden in Wrotham.
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Average property price: £257,998
£385,000: a modern three-bedroom detached home with sunny split-level patio.
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Average property price: £278,134
£300,000: a mid-terrace property with two bedrooms and a modern kitchen, close to Bushey station.
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19/20 St Albans
Average property price: £478,714
£425,000: a well-presented cottage with two bedrooms and open-plan living area.
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Average property price: £223,830
£230,000: a three-bedroom family home with open-plan kitchen and dining room, overlooing a private garden.
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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.
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.