A rising number of first time buyers are exploring beyond the boundaries of London to secure an affordable and practical first home. With our six branches running along the commuter belt, here is a quick overview of how they compare.

londonRecent statics highlight that one in four first time buyers are opting out of buying in London. It comes as no surprise really, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also report a steady annual increase in house prices since the 1980’s averaging at 7%. While much of the UK has seen a rise in house prices, findings indicate the average price first time buyers paid for their property has increased by 40%, with recent figures indicating the UK’s average for entry-level property is £198,000. We are all too familiar with London prices and predictably first time buyers in London paid more than twice the national average, amounting to £423,000. In addition to this, a recent Government study highlighted London prices fetch as much as £3,000 per square foot, in a market where property supply is continually trying to keep up with demand, ultimately meaning buyers have to work harder to find that ideal first home.

Above all, expectations of the first home itself will be an uncompromising mix of needs, wants and desires. Beginning with location requirements, where excellent commuter connections may be needed to keep a strong work-life balance. However, it is important to keep budget in mind, and a compromise on a couple of miles could make a big difference. 

HtB_RGB_GOVThis scenario probably sounds familiar to the majority of first-time buyers, as they debate the purchase of their first home. Having been in the business for over the last 25 years, this is a scenario we have come across before, with the highs and lows of the property market causing buyers some uncertainty. What differs today is the amount of choice and opportunities that are available to assist first time buyers in taking the first step onto the property ladder. From Help to Buy schemes, new build incentives, and competitive mortgage rates there are a lot of opportunities out there and as they say, where there is a will there is a way.

Opportunities in London can be invaluable to your career and lifestyle, but as statistics indicate, they do come at a price, with higher costs of properties and living. The pragmatic buyer is therefore likely to venture slightly further afield, exploring affordable and practical opportunities out of the capital. Our soon to be six branches all run along the commuter belt, offering a great balance of a realistic commute and much more affordable pricing. 

Here is a quick overview of what is available in each of these towns, where the cost per square foot is approximately £400 per sq ft in comparison to London’s £3,000.




London – Train: 1hr  Road: 1hr16

Reading – Train: 35mins  Road: 30mins

Basingstoke – Train: 7mins  Road: 11mins

Ave cost of train: Annual railcard to London – £3,890, with Travelcard zones £4,816

New builds & Incentives: 

Pembroke Manor by Taylor Wimpey, prices from £195,000: Stamp duty paid, reduced deposits, no legal fees, Help to Buy available

Providence House by Pineview, prices from £149,950: Stamp duty paid, Help to Buy available, £500 Ikea voucher if reserved in August

What’s in town: Business Parks, train station with mainline service to London, M3 access, Tesco and other amenities, cafes, restaurants, pubs, schools, plenty of green areas.

Additional comments: Hook is proving a real hot-spot for first time buyers, which is no surprise when you consider the fantastic offers from our current developers, along with the easy commute to nearby towns and the city. Call our Hook branch for more details and early reservation incentives. 01256 764666.



Travel Time: 

London – Train: 1hr9  Road: 1hr15

Woking – Train: 46mins  Road: 33mins

Guildford – Train: 33mins  Road: 33mins

Ave cost of train: Annual railcard to London – £3,736, with Travelcard zones £4,576

New builds & Incentives: 

Jenny’s Cottage by Edison Homes, only one remaining at £449,950

What’s in town: Strong local community, reputable schools

Additional comments: Yateley has a really active local community and is a thoroughly picturesque place to call home, with lots of local parks and open greenland.



Travel Time: 

London – Train: 45mins  Road: 1hr12

Woking – Train: 12mins  Road: 30mins

Guildford – Train: 24mins  Road: 27mins

Ave cost of train: Annual railcard to London – £3,760, with Travelcard zones £4,592

New builds & Incentives:

We don’t have any schemes at this moment, but do often re-sell relatively new apartments along with a whole host of other properties.

What’s in town: A wide selection of shops, restaurants, gyms, multiplex cinema, world famous airshow, variety of business communities.

Additional comments: Farnborough has seen a vast amount of investment into regeneration along with many new build developments over the last few years to meet the demand for property in the area. With an easy commute to London and surrounding towns, along with a great selection of amenities within the town, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular choice for relocation.



Travel Time: 

London – Train: 59mins  Road: 1hr19

Basingstoke – Train: 17mins  Road: 22mins

Guildford – Train: 43mins  Road: 37mins

Ave cost of train: Annual railcard to London – £3,820, with Travelcard zones £4,656

New builds & Incentives:

Blue Prior by TA Fisher, prices from £445,000: Stamp duty paid and Help to Buy available

Ewshot Gardens by Redfields Developments, only two remaining, from £699,950 with stamp duty paid

A number of apartments do often come up for sale in the area, please register your interest with the branch to be the first to hear.

What’s in town: A multi million pound leisure centre, many reputable schools, Fleet pond, various nature reserves, High street shops and unique individual shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes.

Additional Comments: Fleet continues to prove popular for those looking to move out of the city, particularly those with families due to the high calibre schools.


Hartley Wintney

Travel Time: 

Basingstoke – Train: 1hr7  Road: 18mins

Reading – Train: 52mins  Road: 27mins

Woking – Train: 1hr16  Road: 38mins

New builds & Incentives:

We don’t have any schemes at this moment, but have a selection of properties available.

What’s in town: A vibrant community with a village green to the centre, some fantastic shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Additional comments: Hartley Wintney is known to be a desirable area to move to, due to it’s rural setting, boutique village high street and local community events.


Ash Vale

Travel Time: 

London – Train: 52mins  Road: 1hr23

Guildford – Train: 11mins  Road: 23mins

Woking – Train: 13mins  Road: 25mins

Ave cost of train: Annual railcard to London – £3,656, with Travelcard zones £4,420

New builds & Incentives:

Maida by Bellway, prices from £492,995

A number of varied homes are always on offer, please register your interest with the branch to be the first to hear.

What’s in town: Canal, great access to local towns, schools and local shops.

Additional comments: Ash Vale and its surrounding areas including Aldershot, Farnham and many more all have something unique to offer, but all benefit from a superb location for access to commuting transport links.


The options are endless, should you receive the right advice, making what was formerly ‘not a chance’, a realistic option. From competitive mortgage rates to competitively priced homes, contact our branches to see what is available for you.


Ash Vale – ashvale@mackenziesmith.co.uk  – 01252 353030

Farnborough – farnborough@mackenziesmith.co.uk – 01252 375999

Fleet – fleet@mackenziesmith.co.uk – 01252 812121

Hook – hook@mackenziesmith.co.uk – 01256 764666

Hartley Wintney – hartleywintney@mackenziesmith.co.uk – 01252 844015

Yateley – yateley@mackenziesmith.co.uk – 01252 597900