Welwyn Garden City is a surprisingly cheap place to buy for commuters
Developed in the 1920s and incorporating low-density housing surrounded by greenery, tree-lined avenues and wide grass verges, Britain’s second garden city (after Letchworth) is considered a masterpiece of modern town planning.
In 1948 it was also designated a new town to house people made homeless in World War II, and today is a thriving commuter belt hub.
There are two stations, the A1(M) is nearby, it’s 15 minutes from the M25, half an hour from Luton airport and local schools are good.
However, the main attraction for homebuyers is how much they get for their money in a county generally perceived as expensive.
Try the west side for well-proportioned 1920s and 30s houses with decent-size gardens, or the east — which is a little cheaper — for post-war and more recently built homes.
‘One-bed flats start from just over £200,000, two-bed houses from £330,000, three-bed houses are on average £380,000 and a four-bed 1920s house is from £600,000,’ says Dominic Griffiths of Connells estate agents.
‘Lots of Londoners are moving into the area, and sub-£400,000 — £450,000 properties are popular with first-time buyers taking advantage of 5% deposit mortgages. The market’s booming — we recently had 39 viewings and seven offers on a three-bed house.’
What’s new in the area?
Crest Nicholson’s Willow Place consists of traditionally designed one and two-bed apartments and three and four-bed houses, a short walk from the Howard Centre.
One-bed homes start at £131,500, two-beds from £325,000 and three and four bed-houses are from £490,000 and £570,000 respectively, and Help to Buy and Home Reach are available on selected plots.
St Arthur has one shared ownership home left (out of 15) in a block forming part of the wider Willow Place development.
Including two bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen, and allocated parking, it’s from £155,000 for a 50% share of £310,000.
More shared ownership homes are provided at SO Resi Times Square, an art-deco inspired scheme with a magnificent atrium in the main building and a concierge service.
The one, two and three-bed apartments are kitted out with integrated appliances, flooring and Sky+HD satellite connections, from £83,750 for 25% of £335,000.
The central former Debenhams store has been converted into a collection of one and two-bed apartments with soaring ceilings, full-height windows, lift access and a glass atrium, called Theodores Place. 11 remain out of 28, from £250,000 with Help to Buy on some units, via William H Brown.
Principle Point comprises 51 one and two-bed apartments, of which two thirds have sold.
Prices range from £230,00 to £360,00, and all homes include swish German kitchens with Siemens appliances, underfloor heating and wall-mounted speakers ready for Sonos wi-fi. Help To Buy’s available, too.
First-time buyers should also take a look at Bridge Road East, a scheme of just four apartments — a studio and three one-beds — in walking distance of the town centre and station and offered with Help To Buy.
The layout of each home is different and they’re from £225,000 to £325,000, through Ashtons.
Everything you need to know before you buy in Welwyn Garden City
Average house price: £412,931
Average rent: £1,405pcm
Council tax (Band D): £1,912.65
Commuting time to Zone 1: From 27 mins to King’s Cross
Annual season ticket: £4,544
Amenities: ★★★★☆ Waitrose plus several other supermarkets; John Lewis; high-street stores in the Howard Centre, named after Ebenezer Howard, founder of the garden city movement; chain and independent cafes and restaurants; fortnightly food and craft market; cosy pubs in the outlying villages; cinema, roller skating and soft play at Campus West; Gosling Sports Park has a dry ski slope, golf driving range and cycling velodrome; the Barn Theatre hosts the Welwyn Drama Festival in May
Open space: ★★★★★ Stanborough Park includes boating and sailing lakes and an outdoor pool; King George V Playing Fields; Sherrards Park Woods; Digswell Lake Nature Reserve
Schools: ★★★★☆ GCSE and A level results well above average; bulk of state schools judged as outstanding or good by Ofsted
Crime: Below average in all categories
Who lives there? Lots of London leavers; first-time buyers and families
Famous faces: Alesha Dixon’s birthplace
Schools, crime and house price data supplied by Zoopla
What can I afford on the property ladder?
There’s room for you and a lodger in this two-bed, two-bath first- floor flat. Has an allocated parking bay and a balcony off the living room.
Check it out via Guild Property.
Set within a conservation area, this four-bed semi has been improved and extended by the current owners, who have also converted the garage into a self-contained annex.
Check it out via William H Brown
This detached house includes four bedrooms, three reception rooms and two studies. The west-facing garden backs on to woodland.
Check it out via Savills
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