The London exodus: top schools, the best areas and new homes for first-time buyers in Reigate and Banstead

Why first-time buyers are moving to Reigate and Banstead, Surrey.

Average first-time buyer spend: £316,620, which would buy a modern two-bedroom flat or a small terrace house in Reigate. The district also covers neighbouring Redhill, where a similar budget would buy a three-bedroom semi-detached house.

Annual price increase: 2.4 per cent. Proportion of homes sold to first-time buyers: 15 per cent.

The commute: trains from Reigate to Victoria take from 48 minutes and an annual season ticket costs from £2,844. Redhill has train services to London Bridge in half an hour and the season ticket starts from £2,840.

£325,000: a two-bedroom apartment for sale in Croydon Road, Reigate, near the train station

Schools: Generally excellent. Ofsted deems junior schools Reigate Priory Community Junior School and Reigate Parish Church Primary School outstanding, and secondaries St Bede’s School and Reigate School also get top marks.

What’s new? Developer Solum is expected to submit proposals for an overhaul of the area around Redhill station, to include hundreds of homes plus shops, next year.

Already on site is The Picturehouse, a development of 133 flats ranged around a public square, right in the town centre and only minutes from Redhill station. Prices are, by London standards, tempting, starting at £255,000 for one-bedroom flats and £325,000 for two-bedroom homes (

The lowdown: although only a few miles apart, the Surrey Hills towns of Reigate and Redhill could barely be more different.

Reigate is an affluent market town, with smart boutiques and cafés, a photogenic high street and some lovely period homes, while Redhill is a more modern and rather bland new town.

Steven Stokes, branch manager of Hamptons International, estimates that the property price gap between the two towns is about 20 per cent. However, this gap is shrinking and Stokes feels that Redhill will continue to improve, particularly given its fast links to the City.

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