Buying in the London commuter belt: Home Counties hotspots with the most homes for sale at the lowest prices

There are 9,420 properties for sale in Essex at an average price of GBP404.488, and 4,974 homes with three or more bedrooms. There is slightly more stock in Kent than there is in Essex, but the average price of GBP414,458 for a home with three bedrooms or more is higher. According to Jackson-Stops’ new analysis, Essex is now the home county of choice. This cottage, a Grade II listed thatched cottage, is for sale in Essex for GBP500,000 / Rightmove. Essex has always enjoyed the double hitter of being close to London and having good schools. Homes along the A12 corridor are also highly sought after. James Caffrey, of Jackson-Stops, Chelmsford, says that “since the pandemic, areas in the county that were previously too distant by commuters have grown in popularity.” He adds that homeowners are more willing to travel longer because of the culture of hybrid work. This is why villages like Finchingfield, Great Bardfield and Wethersfield are so in demand. As growing families seek more space, the movement of households from London to the suburbs, markets and villages of the commuter belt has been a long-standing property rite of passage. This is due to the high prices of London’s houses, making it difficult to move. However, the first lockdown and the Chancellor’s emergency stamp-duty holiday boosted home buyer numbers even further, driving up prices and reducing the number properties on the market to new lows. Rightmove recorded the most severe imbalance between supply and need in spring. There are 10,112 properties available to view in Kent, and 5,241 homes that have three or more bedrooms. There is a significant drop in the number available properties in Kent, Essex, and the surrounding counties. Savills further research shows the shortage in the small county that runs from the coast to the north of South Downs National Park. Savills / Rightmove has a country home for sale in Petworth, West Sussex. The sales-to-stock ratio was 68% in the first three months 2019. This rose to 114% in the same period 2021 and fell to 98.9% this year. Frances Clacy, analyst with Savills, explained that a higher percentage of sales means more stock is coming to market than there are sales. The most expensive Home County to Buy in was Surrey, which had 6,174 homes on the marketplace. Hertfordshire followed at GBP514,437 with 5,141 homes for sale. Surrey had the highest average home price of GBP621,134. Frances Clacy, an analyst at Savills, says that historically, the east of London was less desirable than the west. This is partly due to the industrial heritage along Thames and the fact that the prevailing winds carried pollution. “By comparison, other compass points such the ones to the west and south-west benefited from a flow in wealth out of London, especially into Surrey and Berkshire.” “”However, access to the financial districts (the City and Canary Wharf) means people have been increasingly moving east, taking advantage of the fast and frequent trains that run from Essex,” she says.Commuter counties rankedCounty Total homes for saleHomes with 3+ bedrooms for saleAverage house price1 Essex9,4204,974GBP404,4882 Kent10,1125,241GBP414,4583 East Sussex3,6161,699GBP412,5714 Surrey 6,1742,564GBP621,1345 Hertfordshire 5,1412,280GBP514,4376 Buckinghamshire 3,3531,776GBP490,1857 Berkshire 4,0631,677GBP471,5098 West Sussex 3,2791,586GBP437,734Data: Jackson Stops. Ranking is based on the combination of the highest number of homes for sale for families and the lowest average house price.