The Choices People Make

London agents are saying that the gap in house prices between London and the country has never been wider. Their advice is that 2013 is the year to make your move and capitalise on the difference before the market recovers and prices in the country start to go up.
If you move from London to the country you can therefore guarantee you will get more space for your money. And the further you move from London, the lower prices will be unless you move to one of the star cities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Winchester or Guildford where prices are punchy. For families who are looking at the bottom rungs of the housing ladder it is worth looking at the cheaper commuter stops.
You are likely to be competing with anxious parents who want to buy close to the best schools. They want a good education for their children and a good commute for themselves. As the recession has pinched, more people are seeking excellent church and state primaries, and renting while they house-hunt in order to be close enough to ensure a place. At secondary level there is huge interest in counties (like Kent, Essex, Buckinghamshire) which have the grammar school system and where a top notch education will cost nothing. But the competition to get a place in these schools is intimidating and the pressure may be too much for many children.
In today’s market you are also likely to buy from a downsizer (death and divorce also feature among reasons to sell in a slow market). The over-55s make up a large proportion of sellers these days, often driven by the need to release equity to augment their pensions. Downsizers are found especially in areas around Chichester in Sussex, the Weald in Kent, across Devon and Cornwall, and in the Cotswolds.

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The Commuter Guide website is based on the bestselling Telegraph Guide to Commuterland, by award-winning property journalist Caroline McGhie.

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