New country homes along the commuter routes tipped for house price growth

Well-designed barn, stable and mill conversions are the rural equivalent of London's factory lofts. David Spittles finds the latest new homes in the country within commuting distance from London
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Dowding Suite in Bentley Priory
£2.25 million: for the glamorous Dowding Suite in Bentley Priory, the converted north London Second World War Fighter Command HQ (020 8954 5959)

The nation’s two-tier housing market — London and the rest — has opened a window of opportunity for those making the move from the capital to the commuter belt or country. As London prices remain buoyant, now is the time to cash in and make your move to the suburbs or shires. But wherever you go location is still king, and there are few bargains to be had in those “corridors of wealth” leading from the capital to the countryside and coast. So begin to think of the next best location if you are in search of more space and an opportunity for capital growth.

New research by Savills has identified several good “commuter clusters” offering what most people are looking for — a well-designed, low-maintenance home, countryside, pretty villages, quick train times and good schools.

Savills predicts that within five years, locations along certain routes will rise in popularity and value as house prices recover and the price divide narrows.


* Beaconsfield to Marylebone: (surprisingly for such an expensive town) journey time from 33 minutes;
* Chelmsford to Liverpool Street: journey time from 34 minutes;
* Guildford to Waterloo: journey time from 37 minutes;
* Haywards Heath to Victoria/London Bridge: journey time from 42 minutes;
* Cambridge to King’s Cross/Liverpool Street: journey time from 48 minutes;
* Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross or Cannon Street: journey time from 50 minutes;
* Newbury to Paddington: journey time from 51 minutes;
* Winchester to Waterloo: journey time 58 minutes.

The big question on the lips of those contemplating The Great Move Out is whether buying a bigger house for less money further down the line compensates for the hassle of a longer and more expensive commute. And if we decide it does, what do we buy? Research shows that Londoners looking for quality of life and value for money do not want a rural wreck. They would like a home with character but with low energy bills.

All would prefer a new home with a well thought-out design. “Often buyers are nervous about moving out of the capital, fearing limited housing choice and inferior design, but the home counties market has really matured,” says David Smith, sales director of developer Octagon.

Alderbourne Place
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