The southern part of England is often thought of as being expensive for properties, but the reality is that you can find different types of affordable homes all over the South. So if you’re keen to buy but can’t afford anything suitable in your current area, you might just need to look a little further afield to places you might not have considered so far.
Maybe you fancy a city centre flat so you can easily go out and about in the evenings and at weekends, or you might prefer a house with a garden in a quieter location where you’ve got easy access to the countryside. Whatever you’re after, relocating to a new area is something to think about – and you might not need to move very far from where you currently live.
According to the Land Registry, the average price in the UK as of June 2021 was £265,668. We’ve found 10 great places to live across the South, where properties are available to buy for less - and there are some great value rents too.
Take a look at our round-up of affordable areas in the South of England:
Colchester – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £245,000
Average rent: £900 pcm
Colchester in Essex holds the record as the oldest town in the country, with history dating back 2,000 years. According to property finders Garrington, it’s been ranked as one of the best places to live in 2021.
The area boasts a whole host of attractions, including Colchester Zoo, which is set in 60 acres of parkland and is regularly voted one of the top zoos in the UK. There are also a number of museums, parks, open spaces, leisure facilities and cycle networks around the town. The whole borough covers 125 square miles, taking in beautiful coastlines, woodland and countryside.
It’s ideally situated for commuting, with train journeys to London taking around an hour, Stansted Airport just 45 minutes away, and the A12 road connecting the town to both London and the East Coast.
For families, there are a number of ‘outstanding’ Ofsted-rated schools, from nurseries through to grammar schools for both boys and girls, plus the University of Essex Colchester campus.
Housing ranges from Georgian and Edwardian detached homes and traditional-style semis, through to modern flats, and includes Help to Buy and Shared Ownership properties. While the average price for a terrace house is £245,000, it is possible to pick one up for around £190,000 or less.
To find out more about living in Colchester, visit our local office where the team will be delighted to help you find the property of your dreams.
Southend-on-Sea – 2-bed flat
Average price: £204,000
Average rent: £950 pcm
Situated on the Essex coast, Southend boasts 7 miles of sandy beach, has the longest pier in the world, and even has its own airport! It’s also booming with attractions, including Adventure Island, Sea Life, a museum and planetarium, plus a leisure and tennis centre.
There are good connections to London, with the train taking around an hour and Stansted Airport is just over an hour away. In terms of schooling, there are many Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ options.
Southend offers a variety of housing, from brand-new developments to period and traditional-style properties, with affordable homes available through Shared Ownership and Help to Buy. Flats are very well priced here, and although there are not many available, it is possible to secure a 2 bed terrace below £265,000 but they do get snapped up quickly.
If you love living by the sea, then Southend could be the place for you. To investigate further, just contact our Leaders Southend-on-Sea office.
Bedford – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £225,000
Average rent: £900 pcm
Located just 50 miles from London, Bedford is very popular with commuters, thanks to its frequent train service to the capital - which can take as little as 40 mins - and Luton Airport under an hour away.
As well as all the amenities of a big city on your doorstep, the town is bordered by some beautiful countryside. The Castle Quarter has a good range of facilities and is very popular with families, as is Russell Park, which provides sports facilities, recreational space, and gardens.
In terms of education, the area boasts a number of ‘outstanding’ schools, including Castle Newnham Primary. Bedford also has some of the largest employers, including Asda, Argos, Unilever and Aldi, along with good job opportunities in other sectors, such as finance, ICT, and manufacturing.
Although the average house price, according to Rightmove, is £316,000, a 3-bed semi can be picked up for a more affordable £250,000 and 3-bed detached for around £280,000.
To find out more about living in Bedford and specific areas where properties are more affordable, the Leaders Bedford office will be happy to help.
Ipswich – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £202,000
Average rent: £800 pcm
According to TripAdvisor, the vibrant Suffolk town of Ipswich is the only UK destination to make their global list of ‘emerging destinations for 2020’, and it’s definitely one for commuters, first-time buyers, families and retirees alike.
Ipswich is one of the oldest towns in England, with a traditional town centre and stunning Christchurch Park, which sit alongside the vibrant waterfront and university areas. The recently published ‘Ipswich Vision 2021-2025’ priorities include: more open/green spaces, a place for employment and skills, new technologies and securing available sites for new homes with a mix of well-designed housing types and tenure.
It’s ideally positioned for excellent access to London, Norwich, Colchester, Peterborough, Cambridge and Stansted Airport, with two train stations and access to the A14 and A12.
For families with children, there are plenty of ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’-rated primary and secondary schools and an independent school for primary age to 18-year-olds. Ipswich is also home to the University of Suffolk.
Housing stock is very varied, from stunning contemporary riverside apartments to traditional 3-bed semis, to large detached new builds.
To find out whether there’s a property that might suit you in the area, the Leaders Ipswich team is always available to give advice.
Blandford Forum – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £246,000
Average rent: £800 pcm
Blandford Forum is a Georgian market town in Dorset that sits close to the River Stour, north-west of Poole and around 20 minutes from Wimborne. The town is home to the annual Great Dorset Steam Fair, which attracts a large number of visitors during the August bank holiday weekend.
It’s ideally placed to explore Dorset, the World Heritage Jurassic coast, and wonderful beaches, not to mention being surrounded by beautiful countryside. Cranborne Chase and Martin Down National Nature Reserve are just a short drive away.
So, if you enjoy walking, hiking, outdoor pursuits or extreme sports and want to live in beautiful countryside, this could be the perfect place for you.
As far as properties go, there are some really old ‘quirky’ homes through to classic Victorian properties and brand-new developments – some of which have limited opportunities for schemes such as Help to Buy.
For help finding your ideal home in and around the area, contact your local Leaders office.
Hailsham – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £235,000
Average rent: £1,000 pcm
Located in the East Sussex countryside, the market town of Hailsham sits around 30 mins north of Eastbourne.
For families, Knockhatch Adventure Park can be reached in under 10 minutes by car, the restored medieval Herstmonceux Castle is around 20 minutes’ drive, and Pevensey Levels National Nature Reserve is just 15 minutes away.
A number of schools in the area have a ‘good’ Ofsted rating, from primary through to colleges, and there are independent schools in nearby Upper Dicker and Eastbourne.
Housing-wise, Hailsham has everything from modern flats through to traditional detached farmhouses, with semis selling on average for £271,000, and terraced houses averaging £235,000.
If you’re looking to move to somewhere in East Sussex, get in touch with us for expert help and advice.
Gloucester – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £187,000
Average rent: £775 pcm
The city of Gloucester sits between the beautiful Cotswolds - classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its rolling countryside and quant villages - and the Forest of Dean. It’s also just a few miles from the spa town of Cheltenham.
There are plenty of things to do in and around Gloucester. If you’re into skiing, it has its own Ski and Snowboard Centre boasting the longest slope in England, and the cathedral is well worth a visit - especially for Harry Potter fans, as several film scenes were shot here. There’s a large range of shops, from independent boutiques in The Cathedral Quarter, antique shops and flea markets, to all the big high street brands, with Gloucester Quays Outlet just quarter of an hour away.
Gloucester has a large selection of schools, a number of which are Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ for both primary and secondary, along with several independent schools both in Gloucester and nearby Cheltenham - including the renowned Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Gloucester University is also located in Cheltenham.
For commuting and travel, the M5 gives easy access to Bristol, the South-West and Birmingham. Oxford is about an hour and 20 minutes’ drive, and London can be reached in around 1hr 50 by train.
The city has a vast range of properties and is more affordable and better value than its neighbour, Cheltenham, with the average terrace selling for £187,000, compared to £344,000 in Cheltenham.
To find out more about living in Gloucestershire, our experts will be happy to help.
Redditch – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £192,000
Average rent: £750 pcm
Set in the beautiful county of Worcestershire, Redditch is located around 15 miles south of Birmingham, which is easily accessible by train or car, with Birmingham Airport just 30 minutes away. Stratford-upon-Avon, the Malvern Hills, and the Cotswolds are all also within easy reach.
For those who like walking, fishing, or water sports, Arrow Valley Country Park is only five minutes’ drive and has 900 acres to explore, as well as a café and function/conference facilities. The town itself also boasts leisure facilities, a golf course, sports centres and the Edwardian and Palace Theatre.
There are a number of ‘outstanding’-rated schools in Redditch, along with a selection of independent schools in Birmingham and its surrounding towns.
On the housing front, there’s plenty of variety, from flats through to country houses, plus developments offering Shared Ownership and various new-build options on the outskirts of the town.
For help finding the property of your dreams, get in touch with one of our Worcestershire branches.
Milton Keynes – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £248,000
Average rent: £950 pcm
Situated in Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes was originally developed as a Greater London overspill, and now claims to be the UK’s biggest and fastest growing New Town.
Located just 50 miles north-west of London, it’s a commuter hotspot, with regular 35-minute train services into London Euston. Served by the M1, it also offers good transport links to Oxford and Cambridge via its frequent X5 bus service. And if you’re travelling abroad, there’s a daily bus service that runs directly to Luton Airport.
For school-age children, there’s a wealth of ‘outstanding’-rated schools for all ages across the area, plus a number of independent schools.
Milton Keynes has a vast range of amenities, including the Snowzone, National Bowl, museums and country parks, with the historical Woburn Abbey and Bletchley Park close by.
If you’re looking to buy or rent a property, Milton Keynes has something to suit everyone’s needs, whether it’s an affordable new build via Shared Ownership or Help to Buy, a large property with land, or anything in between.
If you think Milton Keynes might be the right location for you, let us help you find your ideal home. Visit our local office for more information.
Bognor Regis – 2-bed terrace
Average price: £257,000
Average rent: £1,100 pcm
Bognor Regis is a town and seaside resort in West Sussex, close to the South Downs National Park. In addition to its beaches with large expanses of sand to enjoy at low tide, there are a number of parks and museums.
The local schools are mainly rated ‘good’, with many independent schools in nearby towns – including Chichester, which also has a university with a campus in Bognor Regis.
Getting to London takes around 1hr 45 mins, with Worthing, Littlehampton and Chichester nearby, and Gatwick Airport easily accessible via car or train.
Whilst many seaside towns are known for having lots of bungalows, Bognor Regis has a varied housing stock - many with beautiful sea views - including modern flats and conversions, period terraces and semis, as well as larger detached country homes.
If you’re thinking of moving to the West Sussex coast and looking for that perfect property, then get in touch with your local Leaders branch.
Average prices and rents mentioned in this article are based on current Rightmove adverts (October 2021) for the property type specified.
If you're looking to buy or rent in the North, check out our top 10 affordable areas in the North.