Saturday, July 13, 2024

Secure Your Future: Tips for First Time Buyers in Up and Coming Areas

Developers are forever telling first time buyers that areas are “up-and-coming,” but how can they be so sure? Debbie Clark looks at how housebuilders choose their next development locations, and what giveaways you can look out for to satisfy yourself that an area is indeed on the up!

As a first time buyer, you want to be confident that you’re spending your money in the right place. If that feels like a huge responsibility, spare a thought for Jamie MacArthur, Bellway London’s Regional Planning Director, whose job involves spotting up-and-coming areas for the company and overseeing millions of pounds worth of land deals every year! Bellway London ( is currently involved in regeneration projects on brownfield sites right across the capital, creating contemporary apartment developments.

Of course, you don’t get that level of responsibility without a great deal of knowledge and experience, so we are grateful for the inside scoop. Jamie says, “It might seem as though you need a crystal ball to predict this kind of trend. It is something of a skill, but there are some practical considerations that will guide you towards locations that are full of possibilities.”

Buying in an up-and-coming area is a great way for first time buyers to both stretch their budget and maximize future returns. Jamie advises, “Getting in on the ground floor with your first property purchase can set you up for growth in the years ahead. A bit of homework at the start of your property journey will pay dividends later.”

With that in mind, Jamie has shared five top tips on what to look out for and why:

  1. New job opportunities are coming in – “If major firms are opening offices, a business park is being built, or supermarkets are investing in a big new store, take note. Jobs bring in people with money to spend and that leads to growing property prices and a thriving neighborhood.”
  2. Retail outlets don’t stay empty for long – “Just as rows of empty dilapidated shops tell a story of decline, the opposite is also significant. If chain stores and independent outlets are keen to snap up retail space when it becomes available, it bodes well. National chains will only invest if they are confident of getting a return and they don’t do so lightly. So, take advantage of their hard work and research, and check out where major stores are choosing to open up.”
  3. Transport options are expanding – “If a location is getting new transport options, that means you can quickly and easily get to the more in-demand areas – such as central London – that location is suddenly more appealing. My top tip here is to widen your perspective. Don’t just look at the rail and tube services, check out expansions in bus services and cycle routes as well as any major improvements to the road infrastructure.”
  4. New places to learn are opening – “If you find universities are expanding and the number of schools and colleges is increasing, that tells you that the demographic is changing, and more people are expected to come in and use those facilities. And a well-educated and skilled population is likely to attract important employers to the area.”
  5. It has a good and improving reputation – “Never underestimate local knowledge. Find out what kind of reputation the area has and whether that is changing and developing. By all means, start with an online search, but there is no substitute for getting out there in person. Walk around, get chatting to the locals and get a feel for the place.”

That last tip is key. You may have been told that when you find your new home, you’ll “just know.” That gut feeling goes for the area too, and what suits one person or family, won’t suit another. Online research will only get you so far – there really is a lot to be said for experiencing a new area first-hand, so when visiting a potential new home, try to build in extra time to pop in to the local shops and go for lunch. If you can, explore the local transport options too.

If you’re looking at a new development, talk to people already living there to get a feel for who your neighbors will be, or ask the sales team about the current demographic. New builds tend to have a particularly strong community feel, as people are generally moving in around the same time and are often at a similar stage of life.

Ultimately, buying your first home is likely to be the biggest investment you’ll ever make and while buying in a popular, established area may feel like the safe option, actively looking for up-and-coming areas is likely to secure you a home with more space in the short-term and a better return in the long run, when you find your “up-and-coming” home has in fact arrived!


FROM £69,375 – Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £277,500
SO Resi Farnham

SO Resi Farnham is an exciting new collection of one and two bedroom shared ownership homes. Features include high-specification interiors, contemporary kitchens with integrated technology and appliances, and an allocated parking space for each apartment. Brightwells Yard, a shopping centre with a six-screen cinema, is right on the doorstep. The development is within walking distance of the town centre and Farnham station, with regular services to London Waterloo taking just one hour. So Resi Farnham also falls within the catchment area for several Outstanding Ofsted-rated primary and secondary schools.

FROM £113,750 – Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £455,000

Peabody’s new collection of one, two and three bedroom shared ownership apartments has launched at Southmere. Set in a vibrant lakeside setting, the properties benefit from a new public square and civic building including a library, a fitness studio and a cafe, with other commercial and community spaces to follow. Abbey Wood is within walking distance and has excellent links to the heart of the city – the Elizabeth Line will take you to Canary Wharf in 11 minutes and to Stratford or Liverpool Street in less than 20.

020 3369 2170

Luna Place
FROM £360,000

Register your interest for this new development, due spring 2024. Comprising 25 one and two bedroom apartments, Luna Place will be arranged over two apartment buildings with lift access. Located minutes from Esher High Street and railway station, which offers services to London Waterloo in 22 minutes, the gated development has a prime location by Sandown Park Racecourse. Each home will have private parking with an EV charging point, and some will have private patios and Juliet balconies. A communal wildflower garden will be accessible for all residents to enjoy.

020 8481 7588


First time buyer Kuriakose, an electrical engineer, has found his ideal home with his family in Rugby. Kuriakose, 37, and his wife Rintu moved into their brand new property at Barratt Homes’ Ashlawn Gardens development in March, along with their two children. Kuriakose says, “My family is very important to me, so finding a home we would all be happy with was my top priority. We all love it here, and coming home after a hard day at work to a house of my own, with my wife and children, is a wonderful feeling.” Ashlawn Gardens is a fast-growing community where residents can enjoy plenty of green open spaces, while also benefiting from excellent commuter links. The quaint town of Dunchurch is on the doorstep and Rugby town centre is less than two miles away. This convenient location suited the family’s needs. Kuriakose says, “Ashlawn Gardens is perfectly located as well, and this makes our commutes to work very easy. I have a four year-old daughter and a one-year-old son, so having great schools for all ages close by was a huge selling point. It seems like a great place to lay down some roots.” The family has settled seamlessly into their new home. “It feels great to finally be on the property ladder after renting for so long, and Barratt Homes has been very helpful all through that process,” reflects Kuriakose. So far, the family hasn’t met many neighbors as they were among the first to move in, but Kuriakose says they are “very much looking forward to welcoming more people to the community” in the coming weeks.

FROM £315,000

The Brambles from Elivia Homes has launched the first seven of 26 properties off-plan at The Brambles – a premium collection of homes ranging from two bedroom apartments to four bedroom houses. The development benefits from a tranquil rural backdrop of mature woodland, and offers easy access to a selection of country walks. Walshes Country Park is just 1.5 miles away, and the nearby Ashdown Forest – inspiration for AA Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh – can be reached in under 20 minutes by road. Crowborough station is within easy walking distance, providing a direct regular service to London Bridge in just over one hour and London Victoria in 75 minutes.

01892 646 440

East River Wharf
FROM £96,875 – Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £387,500

Ultra-modern one, two and three bedroom apartments are on offer at Legal & General Affordable Homes’ new development. Each home has a private balcony and plenty of space to work from home. Residents will also benefit from a wide range of amenities including a spa, fitness studio, residents’ gym, 24-hour concierge and security services. The Sky Lounge – a 16th floor space in the development that is perfect to meet, collaborate and socialize while taking in the spectacular views of the city skyline and the River Thames – is also accessible to residents. The development is a short walk to both West Silvertown DLR and Pontoon Docks stations which makes it perfect for connections, while the C3 cycleway will take you all the way to Westminster. 020 4587 2319

Belgrave Village
FROM £190,000

Wavensmere Homes, in partnership with Galliard Homes and Apsley House Capital, is delivering central Birmingham’s first EPC B-Rated houses (eligible for green mortgages), boasting air source heat pumps, natural ventilation, low energy appliances and EV car charging points, to enable occupiers to lower their carbon footprint and household bills. The development also offers abundant green outside space and, once complete, residents will have access to a gym, co-working space, screening room, and concierge service. All 174 two, three and four bedroom houses are sold with a parking space, and buyers have the opportunity to buy parking with the 238 one and two bedroom apartments.

One, two and three bedroom Shared Ownership properties are also available through Home Reach, with prices starting from £105,000 for a 50% share, and deposits from £5,250 (FMV: £210,000).

0121 212 0800


Young couple Lauren, 21, and Callum, 24, have just secured their first home – a two bedroom Abbott style apartment – at the Glenvale Park development in Wellingborough. Lauren and Callum, a service adviser and technician respectively, were previously living with parents but wanted their own space. Lauren says, “We really wanted to start living together, so began saving up for a home. We chose a new build apartment as it’s a perfect starter home, and didn’t want something too big or too small so the Abbott was ideal. We love the open-plan kitchen/living/dining area that makes the home both cosy and roomy.” The couple found the move effortless. Lauren says, “Our moving experience with Barratt Homes was amazing. From us viewing the property to moving in was only six weeks! It was easy and painless, and the team helped us every step of the way.” Glenvale Park is a thriving new community set among 200 acres of green parkland, with planned amenities including sports pitches, a large play area and shops, in addition to a community centre and a primary school. The development offers easy access to major roads, and London is just under an hour away by train. Lauren explains, “We chose Glenvale Park as the development was within our price range, it has an excellent location with a railway station close by and a lot of open space and paths to walk around. We really like the local area, there are lots of great amenities nearby including a pub and a supermarket.” The couple has settled right in and is excited to meet the neighbors. “The new community really feels amazing,” says Lauren. “There is a Facebook group so we are able to chat with others in the area, which has been very helpful. It’s really feels like a community rather than a development!”

First Time Buyer is an exciting bi-monthly glossy which takes a stylish and comprehensive look at all the options available, setting them out in an entertaining and informative way, and helping potential customers navigate their way through what is often a daunting and complex process. We dispel the myths, reinforce the facts and arm the reader with the tools necessary to make their homeownership dreams a reality.

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