Leaving London? Go West!
Friday, April 30, 2021
Whilst London has much to offer, ONS data reveals that even pre-pandemic, net outbound migration from London stood at 30,000 in 2019. Lockdowns, home working and changing property requirements have accelerated the urban exodus with the pandemic acting as a catalyst for a change in lifestyle. Many of those moving out of the capital head westward and this month’s spotlight highlights just what makes our network area special for property hunters.
Amersham recently featured in The Sunday Times's best places to live 2021 round-up for the South East and it’s easy to see why. Old Amersham is perhaps one of the most photogenic towns in The Chilterns with its timbered coaching inns, antique shops and Market House. Historically, its location put Amersham on the map as a market town on the coaching route heading west from London; more recently Amersham has grown as a commuter town with both mainline and Underground stations.
Surrounding countryside is picturesque, forming part of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the area is dotted with quintessential English villages such as Coleshill and Chalfont St Giles, just 25 miles from London yet full of historic charm.
Access to outdoor space and parkland have become highly sought after in property searches as a result of lockdown and our network is blessed with a wide variety of areas for outdoor pursuits from walking to watersports. Close to our Ashford and Feltham offices, residents enjoy the award winning Bedfont Lakes Country Park with 180 acres of lakes, woodlands and rolling meadow. Reservoirs near Wraysbury, Staines and Ashford provide open spaces for wildlife, sport and leisure activities. Staines Reservoir is a bird sanctuary, while the Queen Mary Reservoir is popular for sailing and windsurfing.
Public parks abound in the Slough and Langley area as do canal and riverside walks, woodlands and natural landscapes. Black Park offers an Oscar-winning location as the scene where many Pinewood Studio films such as Harry Potter were shot. It’s one of the largest local country parks with 10 miles of paths around the lake and through 535 acres of woods and open heathland. Perhaps the “jewel in the crown”, in addition to superb shopping, cafes and restaurants, Windsor offers boat hire on the Thames and riverside picnics in spectacular countryside.
For families moving out of London, the educational opportunities are a major factor. Grammar school catchment properties often command a premium in Amersham, Burnham, Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross and surrounding areas which also offer a wealth of private education options at both primary and secondary level. Local grammar schools include Dr Challoner's, RGS and John Hampden, Beaconsfield High and Chesham Grammar and access to the grammar system maintains an upward pressure on house prices. Independent schools such as Maltman's Green, St Mary's, Gayhurst and Thorpe House add to the excellent options available within Gerrards Cross.
Whilst homeworking has become the norm for many during lockdown and may continue to do so on the roadmap to normality, this area offers commuters rapid journey times into the capital as well as a choice of routes to consider. Amersham, Wraysbury and Windsor all offer two rail options and a journey time of just 20 minutes into London Marylebone makes Gerrards Cross particularly attractive. Chalfont St Peter’s transport links are superb with ready access to stations at Amersham and Gerrards Cross as well as the M25 and M40. As Crossrail opens, demand and property prices have appreciated along the route West in Langley, Slough and Burnham and continue to do so. Proximity to Heathrow, Luton and Gatwick airports via the M25 is a significant bonus for regular international travellers.
Property prices in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Middlesex are generally higher than the UK average but are still, like for like, lower than those in central London and offer significant benefits in lifestyle and educational opportunities. Careful research will highlight which areas offer the best value in terms of £ per square foot – Flackwell Heath and Wooburn Green offer grammar school catchment, village locations amid beautiful countryside and with good rail links via nearby Beaconsfield station but without the Beaconsfield price tag. Slightly further afield, families come to Chesham for excellent schooling and an enviable outdoor lifestyle, commuter links, parkland and open countryside with a range of affordable property options.
There are so many places to explore across the Frost network area steeped in history and heritage and with an extensive range of outdoor leisure options, excellent educational opportunities and an easy commute to the capital. Click here to start your property search or if you are heading west, please contact your local Frost office for more information about what makes our local area so special and how to make your next move.