Top commuter areas less than 50 minutes from London:save up to £250k on a home with shared-ownership options for first-time buyers

Young families who can’t afford the space they need in London could save up to £250,000 with a move to the home counties.

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A record number of thirtysomethings are flooding out of London, many of them first-time buyers including couples and young families motivated by the widening price gap between homes in the capital and in the home counties.

According to Savills, the average property saving to be made by moving beyond the M25 has reached almost £250,000. Little wonder, then, that of the 283,000 Londoners who moved out of town last year to find a home, 66,000 were professionals in their thirties, based on the most recent Office for National Statistics data.

Some of these movers are, of course, “traditional” London leavers — families looking for a spacious country house with land. But growing numbers seek the kind of good-value home they could once find in London, but which no longer exists.

The bad news for them is that prices just beyond the M25 are rising strongly. The latest UK House Price Index, published by the Land Registry, shows property in Surrey up 9.5 per cent year on year, to an average of almost £409,000. In Hertfordshire, traditionally a less expensive option, prices are up more than 15 per cent in the last year, to almost £345,000.

Shared ownership, traditionally seen as a way of picking up a one- or two- bedroom flat with a modest deposit, can also be a way into a family house outside of London.

SURREY

Surprisingly, Surrey is not completely out of bounds. Orbit @ Bailey Gardens has modern three-bedroom houses just over a mile from Epsom from less than £220,000 on a shared-ownership basis. Their proximity to the Surrey Hills and Epsom Downs is an extra selling point for outdoor types.

A 40 per cent share of a three-bedroom house at Bailey Gardens costs £219,000. After putting down a 10 per cent deposit owners will need to budget for mortgage payments of about £716, rent at £753, and £51 service charge, bringing total monthly costs to just over £1,500.

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From £219,000: a 40 per cent share of a three-bedroom house at Bailey Gardens, about a mile from Epsom, Surrey

Epsom is a good commuter option, with trains to Waterloo in just over 40 minutes and an annual season ticket from £2,112. Parents love this Surrey market town for its Ofsted “outstanding” primary schools — Southfield Park, Nonsuch, and Stamford Green. Its main senior schools, Rosebery, for girls, and co-ed Blenheim High, get “good” Ofsted reports.

Nice traditional pubs include The Rubbing House on the edge of the racecourse, and there’s a theatre, and 436-acre Epsom Common. Shopping opportunities range from The Ashley Centre, full of major chains, to a twice-weekly market.

OXFORDSHIRE

For those who dream of village life, Catalyst Homes’ Red Brick Collection in Drayton and Steventon, Oxfordshire, could be the answer. Both extremely pretty villages are set in the rolling countryside of the Vale of the White Horse, about two and four miles respectively from Abingdon.

Drayton has a Norman church and thatched cottages along the high street, a couple of pubs and a primary school, rated “good” by Ofsted.

Steventon has a Grade I-listed Gothic-style church, a medieval cobbled path running through the village, timber-framed buildings, a pub, a shop, sports club and an annual music festival. The best commuter station for both villages is Didcot Parkway, with trains to Paddington from 44 minutes. An annual season ticket costs from £5,620.

Two-bedroom houses in Drayton start at £114,000 for a 40 per cent share, and monthly costs include rent of £356, mortgage repayments of about £571 and service charge of £43. A 40 per cent share of a three-bedroom house starts at £124,000, and monthly costs include rent of £387, mortgage of about £621 and £45 service charge.

At Steventon, two-bedroom houses start at £112,000 for a 40 per cent share. Monthly costs include £350 rent, £562 mortgage and £42 service charge. Three-bedroom houses start at £136,000 for 40 per cent, with monthly rent at £425, mortgage of about £682 and £42 service charge.

The Red Brick Collection has homes spread over several sites, including Arborfield, Berkshire. New sites, including Tadmarton near Banbury, Oxfordshire, are due to come up for sale over the next few months.

BERKSHIRE

One to watch in the new year is Thames Valley Housing’s Croft Gardens scheme, with two-, three-, and four-bedroom shared-ownership homes in Spencers Wood, a slightly suburban village in open farmland, four miles from Reading.

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Village family homes: Croft Gardens in Spencers Wood, near Reading, Berks

Local schools include The Vine Christian School, considered “outstanding” by Ofsted, and Shinfield Infant and Nursery School, with a “good” rating. The village has a couple of useful shops and a pub.

The friendly market town of Wokingham, seven miles away, has plenty of good cafés and restaurants, and top-performing schools, Paddington trains take from 49 minutes. An annual season ticket costs from £3,692.

The homes will launch for sale next year. Prices to come nearer the launch date.


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