Is Essex Now The Best Place To Live In The UK?

Considering how hard it is for many people to get onto the property ladder, how is Essex bucking the trend? Well, the Government’s Help to Buy scheme has massively boosted the number of first time buyers purchasing property in some of the county’s bigger towns. Along with this affordability, what else about Essex is so attractive to these first time property owners?

It used to be where affluent Londoners moved after working hard for years, but Essex is now attracting a much younger demographic. This week we asked Martin Gibbon, director of Balgores Property Group in Chelmsford, what makes this county so popular for young first-time buyers.

The best of both town and country

Essex combines the conveniences of city living with the picturesque scenery of the coast & countryside. Large towns such as Colchester, Chelmsford and Southend are full of places to eat, drink and shop, while providing those vital transport links into the capital. In fact, these Essex commuter towns are where most first time buyers are putting down roots. Most popular was Romford, where 40% of all properties were purchased by first time buyers in the first quarter of 2015.

Romford, an historic market town, has plenty going for it. A train station connects it to central London, a vibrant shopping and entertainment district means there is plenty to see and do, and a mixture of both traditional Edwardian properties and new builds offers buyers a lot of choice.

Other popular areas include Chelmsford, Basildon, Hornchurch, Brentwood and Upminster, all of which are attracting a significant share of first time buyers.

It makes financial sense

According to the Office For National Statistics, the average price paid for a house by a first time buyer in Essex was £264,262 in the first quarter of 2015. Basildon is the cheapest area in the county, with an average price of £203,231 in that same period.

This is certainly a cheaper alternative to living in the centre of London, where prices can easily exceed the best part of a million! The recent changes have in stamp duty laws have helped first time buyers too, with them now being able to afford properties in Romford priced between £250,000 to £300,000.

Essex is Family-friendly

It’s also attractive to those who are thinking of the future. First time buyers are increasingly opting for 2-3 bedroom properties in the area.

This is because they are often thinking of starting a family in the near future or already have young children. In fact, Essex is one of the most child-friendly counties, with many Essex schools excelling at a national level.

Revitalised Towns, Such as Basildon

Another area that is growing in popularity is the aforementioned Basildon. As it boasts the cheapest first time buyer properties in Essex, there has been an increased demand for smaller properties such as 1-2 bedroom apartments and 2-3 bedroom houses.

It’s also a good option for those who work in London, being named the most affordable commuter town due to its low rail fares and of course, great value properties. For those who drive to work, there are good road links connecting it to the city too.

It’s also made attractive by large scale investment and extensive redevelopment. These include developments such as Acacia Park and Morello Quarter, plus the regeneration of both Basildon town centre and nearby Pitsea. All of this means more jobs for local residents too!

The only way is Essex!

So it’s affordable, boasts stunning scenery and residents can be in the heart of London within the hour. In addition to all of that, it’s great for growing families too. With all of this going for it, is there anything not to love about the area? We’re certainly struggling to think of anything bad to say about this wonderful county!

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