After the Second World War thousands of bombed-out Londoners were resettled in “overspill towns” dotted around the home counties. Today, many Londoners being forced to relocate — this time by high house prices — are opting for life in Crawley, one of those overspill communities, south of the capital in West Sussex.
Crawley property prices have surged by 45 per cent in the past five years as buyers seek out its relative good value and impressive transport links, earning it the title of the most successful commuter town in East or West Sussex, according to research by Savills.
BEST VALUE AND SHORTEST COMMUTES IN CRAWLEY
Crawley’s popularity is partly thanks to its 43-minute journey to Victoria or London Bridge. It is also the best-value option of the 16 locations studied.
The town centre is an ugly concrete precinct and some post-war homes have failed the test of time. But there’s a good sports centre, an IMAX cinema and plenty of shops and restaurants.
Maidenbower, two miles west of the town centre, is a suburb of older family housing where a four-bedroom detached home would cost about £425,000. There’s glorious countryside in the nearby High Weald and the schools are good. Maidenbower Infants is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, and The Brook School, a primary, and Oriel High School get “good” reports.
VILLAGES WITH GOOD PRICE GROWTH
Christ’s Hospital station provides links to London for the hamlets and villages west of Horsham where the average property price is £415,000.
A home near Wivelsfield station, which serves the neighbouring villages of Wivelsfield and Wivelsfield Green, costs an average £324,075. Wivelsfield Primary School has a “good” Ofsted report, and there’s a post office and a village pub.
Burgess Hill, three miles away, with plenty of chain stores and restaurants, saw prices rise 40 per cent to £326,261. There are plans for a new shopping centre, cinema, eateries and library, and there are Ofsted “outstanding” schools for all ages.
Again, Victoria trains average about an hour. Much of Burgess Hill’s housing stock is modern, dating from the Nineties, and fantastic value by London standards. A three- to four-bedroom detached house would cost about £350,000 to £400,000.