Top 20 commuter homes hotspots for priced-out Londoners

Top spot: flats by the Thames next to Thurrock Yacht Club at Grays in Essex (Image: Alamy)


Where do you no when it’s time to quit London? A new report revels the top 20 locations Londoners have moved out to in the last year..

Leafy, an hour’s commute from London, a landmark shopping mall and the place where Indiana Jones fought his last crusade — welcome to Thurrock, the most popular destination for exiting Londoners according to a new study.

The report, by Hamptons International, names the top 20 locations Londoners have moved out to in the last year, and it seems that for most the only way is Essex, with local authorities in the county in first and second places.



Thurrock’s appeal includes its green space. More than half of its area is designated green belt land. It also boasts the Lakeside shopping centre, which opened in 1990, and Tilbury Docks were used to film boat chase scenes for Steven Spielberg’s third Indiana Jones film.

Londoners pay, on average, just under £190,000 for a home in the area. “Thurrock is the first place, going out of London, where the prices are affordable for people on normal money,” says Glen Kempster, director of of Howgate & Kempster estate agents.

He believes the town of Grays, in Thurrock, is the obvious choice for commuters, since trains to Fenchurch Street take just 35 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £3,272.
mind the price gap

Grays has plenty of houses built between 1900 and 1930 as well as modern developments. Three-bedroom houses start at about £200,000, with two-bedroom flats from £135,000. The town has its downsides, with a dreary high street and little in the way of entertainment, but it is very close to the shops and restaurants of Lakeside.

For buyers who want more of a village feel, Orsett, four miles from Grays, is the top choice, with a good pub and a village shop. Orsett Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School is rated “good” by Ofsted. A two-bedroom period cottage in the village would cost about £275,000, and a three-bedroom house from about £300,000 to £340,000.


Johnny Morris, head of research at Hamptons, says the top 20 list contains an interesting mix of expensive commuter dormitories — notably Elmbridge in Surrey where the average Londoner spends just over £800,000 on a new home — and good-value locations. The former, he says, reflect moves by equity-rich older  couples leaving London when they have children, while first-time buyers choose areas such as Thurrock, and Medway in Kent where the average spend is just over £183,000.

“We have seen an increase in first-time buyers looking further afield as prices in London continue to rise,” he says. “The gap between buying in London and in places like Thurrock is huge.”

In total the list contains four Essex areas, along with three in Kent, five in Surrey, five in Hertfordshire, and one in Bedfordshire. Two cities also make the list — Brighton in 13th place, and Bath at No 20, reflecting priced-out Londoners’ willingness to commute further to enjoy a city lifestyle, albeit not in London itself. The Bath commute will also be quicker when electrification of the Great Western Railway is completed in 2017.



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