So you are a couple with small children fed up with living in London’s madhouse metropolis and have just (yes just) £1m to spend. Then a small corner of one Bucks town offers amazing value if you fit this profile, local agents claim. Jennifer Warner went to find out why.
If you have a modest house hunting budget then the up-market town of Beaconsfield is off limits as it’s known for high house prices and the local ‘Golden Triangle’ where properties often go for £4 million or more.
Or is it? A small corner of the town is emerging where relatively un-modernised homes are coming up for sale for the first time in many years, and for the moment prices are relatively low for the town, given that it is within 30 minutes of central London.
The magic 30
So where is this lost world of low house prices? Just off the high street and along the north side of the railway line is where five houses sold in five consecutive months last year (three of them were on the same road) and is a trend that’s continuing this year.
Joanna Cocking, Associate Director of Hamptons International, says this area was over looked as wealthy buyers flocked to the ‘Golden Triangle’ instead. But now a ‘unique’ set of roads around St Michael’s Green have become hot property.
Cocking says it’s closer to the train station and has no through roads. A peaceful residential area where you can play tennis, walk to the station (a little country path leads you down to the platform in minutes), and it’s walking distance to Waitrose on the high street when you need a pint of milk.
“This is what I call the ‘Magic 30,’”says Cocking: “30 miles from London in 30 minutes.” And it’s true; the most prized asset of Beaconsfield is its train station, popular with commuters who can get to London’s Marylebone in half an hour.
Wanted: a detached family home
So, what are people buying here and who are they? Cocking has sold houses here for ten years and knows the area well, as she drives us around she points to countless homes she has sold, all of which achieved asking price.
They are large detached family homes in at least a quarter acre plots with 100 foot gardens at the back. The lowest they go for is £800,000 but they can fetch over £1 million. To give you an idea of local house prices, the average asking price in Beaconsfield is £842,316 so these houses are at the lower end of the property market.
Starting a trend
“This one on the left”, Cocking points to a large detached brick house facing the green (pictured left), “has recently sold for its asking price (just over £1 million) but the lady isn’t moving in yet as she’s having work done on the property first. She has moved out from London to be closer to her grandchildren.”
A lot of the properties need updating: ”Most people have lived here for 20 – 30 years but last summer the first one decided it was time to down size, so they put it on the market.” Hamptons erected a ‘For Sale’ board and held an open house viewing day and an immediate sale was agreed.
The neighbours suddenly realised how much their homes were worth and followed suit. Now buyers are now fighting for them, “We have a waiting list for houses here,” says Cocking.
The buyers are almost exclusively all young couples, with two children under ten years old; they have good jobs, from law to construction. “They are all of a similar ilk, so neighbours become friends or one couple will move first, tell their friends who stayed behind in Fulham how great it is and they will then move out too”.
They can sell their town houses in Fulham and get much more for their money here: big gardens, parking, great catchment area for schools and the commute is arguably faster into London than from Fulham, “It’s a no brainer for these young working families” says Cocking.
In comparison to the much-hyped Golden Triangle, the properties in the new hot spot, which Hamptons call ‘The Purple Patch’, are never going to be a golden triangle, says Cocking, they are much smaller and cheaper.
But they offer much more for your money and, “You’re not competing for the bigger plots, most of which are beyond the reach of the normal commuting families,” she says.
Watch our video interview with Joanna Cocking from Hamptons International, filmed on St Michael’s Green.
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The most prized asset of Beaconsfield is its train station, popular with commuters who can get to London’s Marylebone in half an hour.