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Purchasing a home can be stressful, especially given the multitude of factors to consider when making such an important investment. Finding the right area, with access to amenities, liesure activities, and responable commute, can make the process praticularly challenging.
In the spirit of making home-buying simpler, we gathered data on 100 towns within the South-East and whittled these down into a top ten list, hopefully making the decision of where to live near London easier for you.
We elected to gather information that many buyers consider when choosing a location to call home. Data relating to commutability, property prices, crime, and education all formed part of the mix that led to us shortlisting the final ten towns.
Six categories were used for ranking:
Note: Some fluctuations in train times and fares are to be expected after official rail timetables are released. These are usually published a few months in advance but are subject to frequent adjustments. Due to market volatility, average property prices may fluctuate from 2022 data.
If you want to enjoy a peaceful lifestyle and be surrounded by nature, Billericay has this in spades. While the area isn’t in the most affordable price bracket, particularly for semi-detached homes, it has the lowest crime rate on our list and the second-fastest commute time: just 23 minutes.
There are plenty of schools in the area, many with an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating. Good access to urban amenities and a range of green spaces also makes Billericay a great location for people looking to move out of London, but who still desire a quick commute.
The surrounding county of Essex offers beautiful countryside and historical monuments. Access to nearby towns is also easy. Residents get to enjoy the convenience of the city while feeling at one with nature, thanks to 175 acres of nature trails within the local reserve.
With the lowest season ticket prices, a quick commute time, and proximity to Gatwick Airport, Earlswood is a desirable area for commuters. Property prices are on the higher end of our list, but the rise in new developments is an early indication that the town will continue to grow.
The local nature reserve provides ample access for nature seekers, so residents can enjoy the convenience of the city without losing touch with the outdoors.
Stevenage may not have the lowest crime rate compared to other towns on the list, but it offers one of the fastest commute times to London and the flexibility of several trains departing per day.
Paired with the second most affordable average home prices, based on 2022 sales, there are reasons Stevenage is a desirable location for first-time buyers and commuters alike.
Nestled in an idyllic rural setting, Wickford offers residents affordable properties and quick transportation into London. While Wickford may not seem as gentrified as nearby Billericay, it does offer the second most affordable semi-detached homes behind Luton.
Wickford’s high street has a plethora of options for shopping, and a nearby 50-acre park is a relaxing spot to immerse yourself in nature.
Fleet has the highest percentage of schools with an Ofsted rating of ‘Outstanding’ and one of the lowest crime rates on our list. It was even included on Halifax’s Quality of Life Survey in 2020 thanks to its weather, low crime rates, and residents’ well-being.
Despite having the longest commute times, with comparatively fewer trains per day, Fleet still enjoys good access to shopping and entertainment.
Leigh-on-Sea is a wonderful coastal town with plenty of boutique shops, galleries, and eateries. The nearby sandy beach and pleasant countryside offer something for everyone.
While average home prices are more expensive than most locations on the list, Leigh-on-Sea ties for first place with Earlswood for the fastest commute time and most affordable day return ticket price.
Farnborough is an up-and-coming town with the highest number of new developments on our list. While property prices have recently risen to reflect its growth, Farnborough continues to see an increase in amenities for residents.
With a manageable commute time and multiple schools ranked ‘Outstanding’, Farnborough is becoming an appealing town for first-time buyers travelling into London.
Luton’s proximity to London and reputation as a diverse location make it a great option for first-time buyers looking for affordability and reasonable commutes.
With the lowest average sale prices on semi-detached properties in 2022, and a large selection of school choices, Luton appeals to young families desiring an urban environment without the costs associated with London.
Proximity to Luton Airport, shops and a vibrant high street, plus plenty of access to surrounding nature preserves in Bedfordshire, make the town a strong candidate for consideration.
With its proximity to both Brighton and London, Haywards Heath is an excellent commuter town for those wanting to be close to the sea, countryside, and capital city.
The town’s recent rise in popularity has seen it fall to the bottom of our list in terms of property affordability, but it has a reassuringly low crime rate and numerous shopping options, eateries, and parks.
Hook rounds off our list as another great commuter town for first-time buyers. It offers a peaceful quality of life for those who wish to live in a more rural setting, while maintaining a manageable commute to the capital.
While Hook doesn’t offer a lot of choices for schools, many have received an ‘Outstanding’ rating, making the area an excellent choice for young families.
Superb eateries and terrific connections to the picturesque environs makes Hook well-placed as a base for outdoor exploration and leisure activities.
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