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The Only Way is Essex? Buy in Essex for 3x the Living Space of London

On the hunt for a new home with a decent commute? Moving from London to Essex buys almost three times the living space for the same money, and it probably won’t take you much longer to get to the office…

Lead image: Oaklands Hamlet by Countryside New Homes in Chigwell

Despite London house prices falling over the last year, the capital remains the most expensive place in the UK to purchase a property, setting buyers back an average of £471,504 (April 2019 – UK Land Registry).

But homebuyers looking to spend this much on a new property could have almost three times more space on average for the same money if they shifted their attentions to Essex – the average price of a square foot in London is about £863, versus just £314 in Essex.

The most expensive location to buy in London – and the UK – is Kensington and Chelsea, where a budget of half a million pounds can just about stretch to a small one-bedroom apartment measuring around 26 m² (277 sq ft).

New homes in Essex for London commuters: Oaklands Hamlet in Chigwell is a new development of family homes with amenities

Get more for your money at Oaklands Hamlet in Chigwell

A new five bedroom home in Chigwell’s Oaklands Hamlet development, for example, is currently on the market for £739,995. For that, you can enjoy 147 m² (1,577 sq ft) of living space spread over two floors, including a garage.

While London’s outer zones used to offer up a bargain, it’s getting harder and harder to find value for money. On average, people moving out of south east London, for example, can expect to have over double the space when they move to areas like Runwell and Chelmsford in Essex.

For roughly the same price as a one-to-two bedroom flat in Bromley, for example, potential home buyers could purchase a three-bedroom house in Beaulieu, Chelmsford, for £479,995 and enjoy 120 m² (1,296 sq ft) of space.

New homes in Essex: Buy a three-bedroom home at Beaulieu Chelmsford for the same price as a two-bedroom flat in Bromley

Bag a beautiful three-bedroom property at the Beaulieu development in Chelmsford for roughly the same price as a one-to-two bedroom flat in Bromley

Recent statistics from Rightmove have also revealed that rising rents are making the capital prohibitively expensive, with London families paying on average over £300 more a month than eight years ago. That means around a million private renters are now having to fork out £3,600 a year extra.

But all that extra money spent on property buys you convenience, right? Not necessarily. It takes approximately 30 minutes to travel from Chelmsford station to Liverpool Street station by train, which is around the same time it takes to travel from High Street Kensington to Liverpool Street by tube. So living in London doesn’t guarantee you a faster commute.

‘It takes approximately 30 minutes to travel from Chelmsford station to Liverpool Street station by train, which is around the same time it takes to travel from High Street Kensington to Liverpool Street by tube’

‘Given the significant extra value a property buyer can receive outside the capital, many are choosing to leave central London for a more relaxed life in Essex,’ says Chris Bladon, Managing Director for Countryside New Homes and Communities East, a property developer that specialises in building communities, not just houses.

‘Connections into London are improving constantly, giving people the opportunity to commute into work while also being able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that the countryside can offer.’

buying a home:  London VS Essex

The following tables show the significant financial gap between buying a property in London versus Essex:

Central London Area Cost per ft² Type of property for £0.5m
Kensington & Chelsea  £1,807 Studio flat
Westminster  £1,508 Studio flat
Camden  £1,176 1 bed flat
Hammersmith & Fulham  £997 1-2 bed flat
Islington  £904 1-2 bed flat
Southwark  £816 1-2 bed flat
Bexley  £392 1-2 bed flat
Bromley  £471 1-2 bed flat
Hackney  £795 1-2 bed flat
Tower Hamlets  £794 1-2 bed flat
Lambeth  £787 1-2 bed flat
Lewisham  £585 2 bed flat
Wandsworth  £557 1-2 bed flat
Greenwich  £505 2 bed flat

 

Districts of Essex Cost/ ft² Type of property for £0.5m
Chelmsford  £344 3-4 bed house
Braintree  £268 3-4 bed house
Brentwood  £432 3-4 bed house
Harlow  £308 3-4 bed house
Epping Forest  £463 3-4 bed house
Basildon  £311 3-4 bed house
Castle Point  £291 3-4 bed house
Rochford  £307 3-4 bed house
Maldon  £271 3-4 bed house
Uttlesford  £328 3-4 bed house
Colchester  £255 3-4 bed house
Tendring  £206 3-4 bed house
Thurrock  £308 3-4 bed house
Southend-on-Sea  £304 3-4 bed house

Source: Figures from ONS website 

Methodology: The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics were taken in square metres and converted to square feet to compile the tables. A weighted average between the two tables was then taken to determine that, on average, buyers in Essex can get up to 2.7 times the space they can get in London.


 


 

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