Brentwood might be best known as the home of The Only Way is Essex (Towie), but this key London commuter town has plenty besides that claim to fame to boast about.
Its various strong attributes – from excellent transport links to good local amenities, and high-performing schools to a pleasing combo of rural and urban living – make its popularity among buyers easy to fathom.
Here, using our experience of operating in the area, we take a closer look at why Brentwood proves so popular to buyers.
A well-connected town
Arguably Brentwood’s biggest strength is its transport links, which makes it appealing to commuters heading into London for work and leisure. It also encourages first-time buyers and other investors to leave behind the hustle and bustle of London life for more affordable properties elsewhere, knowing that getting back into London will be easy, quick and problem-free.
Rail links from Brentwood and nearby Shenfield into London are very fast and reliable and will be even more so once Crossrail is fully operational (now slated for between October 2020 and March 2021).
The first phase of Crossrail is effectively already open – under the guise of TfL Rail services from Shenfield to London Liverpool Street – with journey times of 40 minutes. Once the Elizabeth Line is fully running through the centre of London, the journey time will reduce to 37 minutes, while transport links to the rest of London will be significantly improved.
Bond Street, for example, will be a 45-minute trip away, while getting to Paddington will take 48 minutes. Canary Wharf, a key employment hub, will be only 38 minutes by train, while Heathrow Terminals will be approximately an hour and 15 minutes away.
Homes in towns in the Crossrail spotlight have benefitted significantly from what is known as the ‘Crossrail effect’, with increased buyer demand leading to higher asking prices for sellers.
It’s not just Crossrail, of course – there are also strong bus and road links, with Brentwood in a strategic location for easy motorway links to Kent, London and other parts of Essex.
What’s more, Essex plays host to two airports – London Stansted and London Southend - which can be easily accessed from Brentwood. Stansted is a 40-minute journey by car, while Southend – known for its pier and seaside charm as well as its airport – can be reached in 38-43 minutes by car or train.
Heathrow and Gatwick can also be reached by car in around an hour via the M25, while Heathrow terminals will be accessed by the Elizabeth Line when it fully kicks into gear.
Outstanding local schools
A big consideration for family buyers is the quality of the schools in a local area. Again, Brentwood scores highly on this measure. In a previous blog, we outlined in detail the various educational establishments on offer in Brentwood.
Options range from Brentwood School – an independent co-educational establishment which counts current Chelsea boss Frank Lampard as a former student – and Ursuline High School, a secondary with above average exam results, in Brentwood itself, while Billericay and Shenfield High Schools are outside the town but easy to get to.
An area with good schools will inevitably attract buyers, as being in the correct catchment area is so important for many parents.
On its own, being in close proximity to a good local school might not sell a home, but it will certainly play a crucial role in making a home property more attractive to buyers.
Brentwood’s family-friendly credentials were also backed up last year when it was revealed that the town is one of the best places to raise a family. The study examined factors such as educational standards, GP ratings, crime rates, quantity of green space, commuting times and pollution levels to produce the top 10 'family zones' in the capital and its commuter belt.
Brentwood was in fifth place, only behind Esher, St Albans, Tunbridge Wells and Walton-on-Thames.
It once again highlighted why Brentwood – which offers an interesting mix of architectural styles, easy access to some stunning countryside, and a wide range of bars, restaurants and cafes – is so popular among buyers.
Significant regeneration in the offing
Buyers are attracted to areas that are up-and-coming or ever-evolving. In early August, it was revealed that Brentwood Borough Council has approved a £1 billion joint venture with Morgan Sindall Investments, which will deliver new homes, public open spaces and commercial and leisure facilities to the town.
The 50:50 partnership, to be known as the Brentwood Development Partnership, was approved at a full meeting of the council on July 30 and is set to deliver a programme of developments over a 30-year period, combining ‘Morgan Sindall Investments’ development expertise and private capital with a portfolio of the council’s surplus land’.
To begin with, the Brentwood Development Partnership will concentrate on three sites situated at William Hunter Way Car Park, Westbury Road Car Park and the Maple Close garages site. New homes together with new leisure and community facilities will be provided, aiming to boost ‘sustainable housing supply across the borough to meet the needs of its growing population’.
“This approach to delivering new investment will allow us to retain control over how our land is developed, as well as the rate and extent of that development,” councillor Chris Hossack said.
“It is a real opportunity to allow the community to thrive and grow, and by redeveloping the borough over the longer-term we will be helping to improve the lives of people living and working here.”
The above makes it clear why Brentwood is an in-demand location from buyers. If you want to buy or sell your home in Essex, here at Balgores Property Group we have many branches across Essex and Kent and can help you to get your property sold for the best possible price. To find out more, please get in touch with us at one of our offices.
Additionally, you can see how much your home could be worth on the current market by requesting a free and instant online valuation.