It might have been best known in recent years for its association with The Only Way Is Essex, but there is more to the town of Brentwood than fake tan and relationship dramas.
Recent extensive research, in fact, revealed that Brentwood is the fifth best place in London and the Home Counties to raise a family, only losing out to Esher, St Albans, Tunbridge Wells and Walton-on-Thames.
The study analysed factors such as educational standards, GP ratings, crime rates (including incidents of drug and alcohol abuse), quantity of green space, commuting times and pollution levels to come up with the top 10 'family zones' in the capital and its commuter belt.
Employment prospects, average salaries, road safety and obesity levels were also scrutinised.
Brentwood, like other key London commuter hubs, is benefitting from people being priced out of the capital's traditional family zones. They are looking to move outwards instead, prepared to move up to 25 miles outside of the capital to find the ideal location to bring up their kids.
Young families, in particular, are turning away from inner London housing stock in favour of the suburbs. Official figures show that net outward migration from London in 2016 was 80% higher than five years before, predominantly as a consequence of booming inner London house prices over the same period.
While the average price in Brentwood currently sits at just over £514,000, it’s still more affordable than what you'd pay closer in to London. And you tend to get far more for your money here.
Brentwood's popularity among commuters and families can be put down to a number of things. First and foremost, perhaps, the excellent transport links and high-performing local schools on offer.
Lying just beyond the M25, London locations can be reached with relative ease and Stansted Airport is only a 30-minute drive away. What's more, trains are regular and reliable – getting you to London Liverpool Street in around 40 minutes.
Brentwood is also home to a number of schools – both private and state – with a range of primary and secondary establishments to suit all needs and age groups.
In addition to good transport links and local schools, the town plays host to an abundance of green space, including Shenfield Common, Warley Country Park and King George's Playing Fields, while keen golfers are well catered for with three golf clubs in the vicinity.
For those who love TOWIE – and it's hard to talk about Brentwood now without mentioning it – there is the famous nightspot Sugar Hut to visit, as well as other filming locations used in the ITV reality show.
Brentwood also has a smart high street with a range of boutiques and chain favourites, plus a wide range of places to eat and drink. For culture vultures, meanwhile, there's Brentwood Theatre and the Brentwood Arts Cinema Club for a cheap and enjoyable entertainment fix.
It's a safe, family-friendly area, with plenty to see and do, which explains why so many families are keen to settle in Brentwood. A solid local economy and easy transport links to London and Stansted Airport mean job prospects aren't an issue, while average salaries hold up pretty well when compared to the capital with a generally lower cost of living to contend with.
There has been a buzz around Brentwood for a while now. It is set to be one of the main beneficiaries of Crossrail, which is set to be fully operational by December 2019 and will reduce commute times from Essex to Central London.
The route, which spans from Reading in the west to Brentwood's near neighbour Shenfield in the east, will improve journey times to the likes of Liverpool Street, Canary Wharf, Stratford, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street, Paddington and even Heathrow terminals.
Inevitably, its position on the Elizabeth Line (as the line is officially known) has increased interest in Brentwood from buyers and tenants alike. The station has been significantly improved, with a full refurbishment of the ticket office and waiting room and a number of other key improvements.
Even once the line is fully operational, demand for homes in Brentwood is unlikely to fall away as the appeal of fast commutes from a family-friendly area will continue to have significant pulling power.
If you would like help buying, selling or renting a home in Brentwood, please get in touch with our friendly team of experts at our local Brentwood branch for more information.
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