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London’s commuter belt house prices soar

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Average property prices in some Home Counties commuter towns have appreciated by as much as the cost of a Range Rover – or two and a half years’ worth of fees at Eton - in the past year.

According to Land Registry data, in the 12 months to September, average prices of all London property types rose by 11% – outpacing the 10% chalked up in South East England. But big discrepancies opened up across the commuter belt, with price rises in several Home Counties areas easily outstripping those in the capital.

Garrington Property Finders, which carried out the research, has identified the Home Counties’ top ten hotspots, ranking the areas and property types that have seen the fastest price increases, and calculating how much an average home in each will have risen in value during the past year.

Top of the table was Brentwood in Essex, a popular commuter town that’s a 35-minute train ride from London. With prices rocketing by 16% a year, an average semi-detached home in the town appreciated by £64,289 in the 12 months to September – enough to buy 19 years’ worth of rail season tickets at today’s prices.

Canterbury in Kent saw price growth of 16% with an average terraced house in the city rising in value by £35,899.

Meanwhile detached homes in Hertford rose in value by 15% – with their average gain of £83,553 being enough to snap a brand new Range Rover Vogue SE. However the greatest gain of all was made in Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead, with detached homes in the Berkshire town piling on £91,131 in a year, enough for two and a half years of fees at the alma mater of the Prime Minister’s predecessor, nearby Eton College.

Home Counties Hotspots – commuter towns where property prices outpace London’s

Rank* Town / city Property type Average price Price rise Value gained What the gain buys
1 Brentwood Semi £457,314 16% £64,289 19 years of train fares
2 Canterbury Terraced £258,789 16% £35,899 4 terms at The King’s School
3 Hertford Detached £648,732 15% £83,553 Range Rover Vogue SE
4 Fleet Flat £230,692 15% £30,811 6.5 years of train fares
5 Maidenhead Detached £748,507 14% £91,131 2.5 years at Eton
6 High Wycombe Flat £216,065 14% £26,971 1 year at Wycombe Abbey school
7 Reading Terraced £309,651 13% £35,916 BMW 420i Convertible
8 St Albans Semi £613,935 12% £65,344 17 years of train fares
9 Oxford Flat £265,422 12% £29,346 1 year at St Edward’s school
10 Farnborough Flat £237,105 12% £25,878 Audi Q3 1.4 SE

*Best performing property type given for each town, and where towns tie in percentage terms, the one with the highest monetary gain is ranked highest.

Jonathan Hopper, managing director at Garrington Property Finders, said: “Every year tens of thousands of Londoners move out of the capital to the surrounding commuter belt, driven by a desire for better value, more space and a wider choice of schools.

“But in addition to the usual shopping list for would-be commuters – good transport links, good schools and so on – many buyers will also have one eye on the potential for price growth when choosing a location.

“Our research shows just how ‘hot’ some of the Home Counties hotspots have become, with price rises outstripping those in London. The combination of both better value and better rates of capital appreciation is a compelling one, but the picture across the commuter belt is very mixed – and buyers need expert intelligence to identify the areas with the greatest potential. “

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