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


Why first-time buyers are moving to Tandridge, Surrey

Average first-time buyer spend: £277,570, enough to buy a one- to two- bedroom flat.

Annual price change: down 3.7 per cent year on year.

Proportion of homes sold to first-time buyers: 22 per cent.

The commute: Caterham to London Bridge takes from 44 minutes. An annual season ticket costs from £1,916. Oxted to London Bridge takes from 33 minutes. An annual season ticket costs from £2,284.

Lingfield to Victoria takes from 49 minutes. An annual season ticket from £2,644. Upper Warlingham to Victoria takes from half an hour. An annual season ticket costs from £1,916.

Schools: standards are variable. In Oxted, for example, Limpsfield Grange School gets top marks from Ofsted, but Oxted School “requires improvement”.

What’s new? There are no big-bang regeneration zones, but Tandridge district council is planning to spend £1 million brightening up Oxted town centre.

However, the council’s decision to sell off two gasholder sites and a car park for housing is the subject of a judicial review after it emerged the plans included 111 flats — none of them affordable.

The lowdown: the North Downs and the Weald are on the doorstep. Tandridge’s towns aren’t Premier League Surrey, but of course locations such as Guildford and Cobham are too expensive for the average first-time buyer.

Oxted is, in fairness, a pretty town with what Andy Wilkins, senior negotiator at Robert Leech estate agents, describes as “a real rural feel”.

£300,000: this one-bedroom cottage in Oxted, Surrey. It’s for sale through Robert Leech (01883 717272)

Its commute is easy, its schools are good, but the first-time buyers Wilkins sees are most interested in value.

In Oxted and neighbouring Hurst Green, buyers can pick up a terrace house with two double bedrooms and a box room for about £300,000.

There is plenty going on in the area, with cricket, tennis and football played at Master Park, plus a leisure centre and an art house cinema, while there are plenty of restaurants and good shopping for a small town.

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