The fast track to a bargain buy

From Monday 14 December, Kent commuters will get home in half the time, discovers Ruth Bloomfield
Kent's super-fast train service
© southeasterntrains.co.uk
Southeastern Trains is slashing Kent-London journey times
A new super-fast train service slashing journey times between Kent’s Medway towns and London launches next week, turning the area into prime commuter territory.

From Monday, the 57-minute trip from Gravesend to London will shrink to 22 minutes, while the 66-minute journey from Strood will be halved, and the 63-minute trip from Rochester will be cut to just 38 minutes.

Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne and Faversham will all also benefit. Lucian Cook, of estate agency Savills, says: “It will make this a good-buy area for young families looking for reasonable prices. It will become a magnet for property developers.”

Research by Savills shows that for every minute lopped off journey times to London, house prices go up by an average £1,000. “There is clearly capacity in these areas for the commuter market with London salaries,” says Cook.

John Rice, of Gravesend-based John Rice Associates (www.johnrice.co.uk) says a four-bedroom period house can be bought from £225,000 and a modern town centre flat for around £130,000.

Gravesend town centre regeneration plans include a riverside beach. Lovers of the country-style life should look in the nearby villages of Shore or Meopham, where family homes start at £350,000. The area has grammar schools and Bluewater shopping centre is a 15-minute drive away.

Mark Lockwood of Robinson Michael & Jackson (www.robinson-Jackson.com) in Strood, expects a price boom. Traditionally buyers have preferred nearby historic Rochester for its grand homes and grammar schools, but Strood’s prices are attractive: £125,000 for a two-bedroom Victorian cottage or £135,000 for a new-build two-bedroom flat. See www.southeasternrailway for information on the new train service.

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