Commuter hotspot: Guildford

Guildford is a popular choice for homebuyers. It is just 35 minutes from London, has good-value property and is an area where developers are building new mid-market family homes
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The kitchen in The Goldcrest at Boxgrove Gardens by Linden Homes in Guildford
From £429,995: the kitchen in The Goldcrest at Boxgrove Gardens by Linden Homes in Guildford. Call 01483 565598
Thousands of people who travel daily to work in London have asked themselves the same question: is it possible to buy a bigger or better home within closer commuting distance?

House prices tend to decline steadily as travel times to the capital increase and many homebuyers take the view that it is worth moving further out to get more for their money.

People also buy for quality-of-life reasons: good schools, open space, less crime and so on.

Senior managers put up with the longest commutes, according to research by the Centre for Transport and Society, based at the University of West England in Bristol, typically travelling 59 minutes by train each way to work.

But they also have bigger budgets to spend on property and can choose more desirable locations.

Guildford, the county town of Surrey, is some 30 miles from London just off the A3. The town is a commercial centre in its own right, with major businesses such as Vodafone and Mitsubishi attracting “reverse” commuters from London.

Boxgrove Gardens
The developer has sought to introduce architectural variety (The Holly, above) at Boxgrove Gardens
The regular and fast train service to and from Waterloo takes 35 minutes. Inevitably, over the years Guildford has become a popular choice for homebuyers.

Young singles and couples have bought town-centre apartments while successful City types have favoured big detached houses, seen as good value against similar properties in less well-connected parts of the Home Counties.

During the last decade or so, one missing property ingredient has been mid-market new family houses for mainstream buyers - say, couples trading up because of the patter of tiny feet, or mid-ranking civil servants who cannot afford a trophy home.

Boxgrove Gardens fills this gap - and marks planners’ and developers’ rediscovered appetite for schemes of traditional houses with a few design twists.

Built on a former Ministry of Agriculture site - a leafy edge-of-town location - homes are set around a village green and tree-lined streets.

The Cupress at Boxgrove Gardens
The design for the Cupress includes integral garages
Rather than houses lined up like soldiers, Linden, the developer has sought to introduce architectural variety, with a range of sizes, types and styles - terraces and semis, two and three storeys.

Properties have floor-to-ceiling glazing, verandas, roof terraces and integral garages with a patio area above. An open-plan kitchen and living area connects with a conservatory-style room leading to the garden, while a top-floor master bedroom suite extends into the attic space, opened up with Velux roof windows.

Eventually there will be 200 homes, including bigger detached properties overlooking a golf course that adjoins the site. Show homes are open for viewing. Prices from £429,995.

Historic Uplands House at the centre of the estate is being refurbished, extended and split into apartments. Call 01483 565598.

Coming soon to the town centre is a redevelopment of former Guildford Hotel in the high street. There will be 38 apartments, including two penthouses. To register, call 01883 334388.

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