Where to buy in Hertfordshire:four villages for London commuters, with good schools and 30-minute journeys to the capital

Great transport links, grammar schools and good-value family homes make Hertfordshire a sound lifestyle investment.

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The top-performing towns and villages in the lovely county of Hertfordshire share one huge advantage — great transport links. A new study today finds the areas that have seen the greatest price growth over the past five years are those where the commute into London is half an hour — or even less.

The research by Savills analysed the property price performance of every Herts town and village within a maximum 65 minutes’ travelling time of central London, and found many journeys shorter than travelling in from Zones 3 and 4. Leading the pack is Chorleywood, a slightly suburban sort of village just beyond the M25, at the tip of the Chiltern Hills.

CHORLEYWOOD

Average home prices in Chorleywood have increased by 53 per cent in the last five years to £749,806. The village is just on the Tube network, with rush-hour Metropolitan line trains to Marylebone taking 31 minutes. An annual travel card costs £2,616 — comparatively modest by commuter standards. There are several good primary schools, along with the Ofsted “outstanding” St Clement Danes School for seniors.

Adam Salem, manager of Hetheringtons estate agents, says Chorleywood is not a chocolate-box village, “but it does have a real sense of community. People get involved in the schools, in the summer fête. And the country pubs are lovely. The Gate is the locals’ favourite.”

Buyers should expect to pay from £900,000 for a four-bedroom post-war house, or about £550,000 for a two-bedroom Victorian cottage, Salem says. “We have just sold to a family who got £700,000 for their London flat and were able to buy a big a four-bedroom house at just over £1 million.” 

TRING

The market town of Tring is another strong performer. Average property prices have expanded 52 per cent in the last five years, to £481,851. Trains from Tring to Euston take 37 minutes, and an average season ticket costs £4,060.

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£600,000: a four-bedroom cottage in Henry Street, Tring, with a private rear garden. Brown & Merry (01442 738 033)/

This affluent town has a predictably strong crop of primary schools and popular Tring School, for seniors. Parents with brainy offspring are within catchment for the grammar schools of Aylesbury, and would-be stars of stage and screen could audition for the independent Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.

Caroline Murgatroyd, director of Hunters estate agents, says families can enjoy the many lovely acres of the National Trust-run Ashridge Estate, teeming with bluebells at this time of year. She finds the typical Londoners arriving in the town are “couples with kids about to start school” who often lived in north London. “Tring is like a mini Crouch End,” she explains.

They could buy a four-bedroom detached house from about £600,000 or a period Victorian villa of a similar size for between £750,000 and £800,000.

WELHAM GREEN

Just south of Hatfield, Welham Green has equalled Tring’s price performance, with prices also up 52 per cent to an average £325,937. Its nearest primary school is North Mymms which “needs improvement”. There are other options in neighbouring Brookmans Park, while Hatfield is a good choice for senior school pupils. Trains to King’s Cross take 37 minutes, and an annual season ticket is £2,368.

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£650,000: a three-bedroom cottage in Walton Street, St Albans, part of the Bernard's Heath conservation area, Hamptons (01727 629 096).

ST ALBANS

Perhaps Hertfordshire’s best-known commuter destination, St Albans has also performed well with price rises of 49 per cent to an average £565,239. This lovely cathedral city, with its boutiques, restaurants and bars, great schools and buzzing town centre, is ever-popular thanks to its 19-minute rush-hour commute to St Pancras International. Season tickets are priced from £3,380.


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