Amanda has worked in estate agency in the Southeast of England in both residential and commercial property sales.
Buying Property in Berkshire
Berkshire has the royal seal of approval. If it's good enough for the Queen, then why not see if its good enough for you too? The royal residence at Windsor is, of course, a castle, but there are plenty of more modest homes available in this county of contrasts. Berkshire has become increasingly popular with commuters into central London. With so many lovely, semi-rural locations on easy train routes into the capital its easy to see why workers with families are choosing to have the best of both worlds.
But is Berkshire affordable? The answer is basically both yes and no. Some towns and villages are surprisingly reasonable price-wise, whilst others are for high-end earners and the independently wealthy only. Recent price reductions on older listings are becoming common-place in the larger towns such as Reading and Wokingham, and this is possibly a sign that property prices are levelling off in some areas. Check out the table below, then scroll down to the locations listings to learn more. This article is, of course, only a general guide, and it's important to do your own research. Happy house hunting!
Also interested in other counties?
This article is one of a series written to help people searching for affordable property. If you are looking for a first family home, looking to relocate, interested in investing in buy-to-let, or just simply curious, these articles may be able to help. At present they include; Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Essex, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall, with more to follow.
Approximate Lowest Prices for 3-Bedroom Houses in January 2022
|Up to £340,000||From £340,001 to £430,000||£430,001 plus|
Earley & Lower Earley
Twyford & Charvil
The village of Arborfield is located just south-east of Reading, and about 4 miles west of Wokingham. Arborfield has spread towards its sister village of Arborfield Cross, so that the two are now conjoined, and are known collectively as Arborfield. There is a British Army garrison about a mile from the village. The area has been the focus of considerable recent development, and new primary school and senior schools have been built to accommodate the growing community. Arborfield's inhabitants are blessed with a good range of local shops, as well as lovely country walks and cycle paths on their doorstep. The railway never made it to Arborfield, but the motorway did, and a junction of the M4 is just 4 miles away.
Budget a minimum of £395,000 for a basic 3 bedroom family home in this up and coming village, but expect to pay considerably more, especially if you are shopping for one of the many new-builds.
The small Berkshire town of Ascot lies about 25 miles west of London. Ascot, home to a famous racecourse, is one of the county's more expensive locations, with basic three bedroom family homes starting at around £425,000 (January 2022). Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are a number of well-regarded independant schools in the area including two boarding schools. However, the nearest state seondary school is located in nearby Sunningdale, and was graded 'outstanding' by Ofsted in a recent review.
Ascot's economy and amenities appear to mainly revolve around the racecourse. Royal Ascot, the centrepiece of Ascot's year is held in June, and it is undoubtedly the world's most famous race meeting. The royal family arrive each day in a horse-drawn carriage, and there is always a strong showing of influential and well-known folk amongst the race-goers. The race-course provides jobs, and attracts money into the town.
Direct line trains into London Waterloo take a little under an hour from Ascot.
Before the Second World War, Bracknell was just a sleepy little town on a train route into London. The war years were to change all that. As the capital, and other major urban areas sustained more and more damage from bombing raids, it became increasingly clear that there was an urgent need for housing away from the cities. It was hoped that troops returning home after the war would be able to settle and bring up their families in brand new, purpose-built towns. The New Town's Commission was created to assess and propose rural locations that were suitable for development into New Towns. Bracknell was deemed the perfect choice, and work commenced in 1949.
Very little of the original Bracknell remains today.The new town was planned for 25,000 people; however, the present day population far exceeds this number. Fortunately modern-day Bracknell has every amenity and facility that you might expect in such a thriving community, including a dry ski slope and ice rink. Budget a minimum of £330,000 for a three bedroom house in this popular town.
Trains from Bracknell to London Waterloo take a little over an hour on a direct line, and around an hour and twenty minutes with changes.
On the day this article was updated (January 2022) the lowest priced family sized house available in Bray on Rightmove was £450,000. Suffice to say, that this is not an ideal location for an average first time buyer. Lovers of good food will no doubt be attracted to this quaint Thames-side village, as it boasts no less than two Michelin starred restaurants located only a short distance from each other. One of these is TV chef, Heston Blummental's 'The Fat Duck'. The other, 'The Waterside Inn' was founded by Michel and Albert Roux, and is still run by Michel's son, Alan.
Bray's nearest train station to is a few miles away at Maidenhead, where the commute into London Paddington takes around 45 minutes.
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Caversham & Emmer Green
Essentially a suburb of Reading, Caversham straddles the River Thames, and has many pretty, riverside properties. The oldest parts of the town date back to medieval times, however Caversham has mostly 20th century properties in its housing stock. With schools through to sixth form, some private, and a good range of local shopping and leisure facilities, Caversham is an attractive and convenient town for families. House prices are quite steep, you need to budget at least £360,000 to guarantee a simple three bedroom house in this popular town.
Caversham is not on a railway line. Reading has the nearest station for rail travellers.
Cookham is a Thames-side village in the north-east of Berkshire. Cookham is famous as the home of the artist Sir Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), whose paintings frequently featured local scenes, painted in a unique and unusual style. Cookham is 2 miles north of Maidenhead and is near the boundary with Buckinghamshire. In 2011 The Daily Telegraph listed Cookham as Britain's second richest village, so it will come as no surprise that housing is quite pricy here, even the most basic 3 bedroom house is likely to cost upwards of £625,000. Cheaper end houses are few and far between as most of the housing stock is either quirky and individual or designed with the better-off home owner in mind.Cookham has local provision for primary school aged children, older children must travel to nearby Maidenhead.
Cookham railway station is on the Marlow to Maidenhead branch line, and trains from here to London Paddington take around an hour.
Crowthorne is a large village in the south-east corner of Berkshire. Broadmoor Hospital, one of three maximum security psychiatric hospitals in England, lies on the eastern edge of the village, and houses some of Britain's most infamous criminals. Crowthorne is also well-known for being the location of Wellington College, a large co-educational independent school, which opened in 1859 in honour of the Duke of Wellington (1769–1852). The village has state schools through to sixth form, and the train commute from Crowthorne into London Paddington takes a little over an hour. Three bedroom homes in this interesting location start at around £400,000, but lower end properties are not always available.
The village of Datchet grew up around a ferry port that once provided travellers with an easy route across the Thames. In 1706, the ferry was replaced by Datchet Bridge, and this in turn was replaced several times before being finally demolished in 1851. Traffic between Old Windsor and Datchet now uses a southerly route along Southlea Road and crosses Albert Bridge, while the new Windsor Road crosses via the Victoria Bridge The village has been an important staging post for travellers into the capital for so many generations, that the houses and other buildings have evolved into a unique and quaintly attractive cross-section of architectural styles and periods.Datchet has many interesting and individual properties, and not many of them are currently priced at less than £600,000. That said, there are generally one or two 3 bedroom terraced and semi-detached houses available priced between £475,000 to £550,000. They are few and far between, however.
Modern day commuters into London Waterloo will make the journey in just under an hour via Datchet Station. The vilage has schools through to sixth form.
Earley and Lower Earley
The conjoined towns of Earley and Lower Earley lie to the east of Reading, and their convenient location close to the M4, and easy rail commute to the capital (less than an hour into London Paddington from Earley station) ensures their popularity with commuters. There are good local shopping and sports facilities in both towns, and a choice of schools through to sixth form. The University of Reading sits astride the boundary between Earley and Reading providing further educational opportunities. Three bedroom houses start at around £375,000 in this popular area for families.
On the day this aricle was updated in January 2022 there were just six listings for properties with three or more bedrooms showing as available in Eton on the Rightmove website. Four of these were priced at under £500,000.
The town of Eton lies across the River Thames from Windsor and is connected to it by Windsor Bridge. Eton is home to the world-famous college that bears its name. Eton College has educated Prime Ministers, nobility, public figures, and royalty from across the globe, and the college provides a great deal of the local employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly. The town itself has a number of notable and historic buldings. It is on a railway line, and the journey into London takes around an hour.
Finchampstead lies on the western edge of old Windsor Forest and was once the hunting ground of the royal court. An old tale tells how King Henry VII brought his son, Prince Arthur, out onto the Ridges (woodlands and heather ridges above the village) to see his bride, Catherine of Aragon, for the first time. The village has numerous fine old buildings, many with interesting stories attached to them,
The modern day village of Finchampstead still enjoys beautiful woodlands and countryside right on its doorstep. It has grown considerably since the days of the Tudor court, and a more contemporary housing development now lies in the area known as 'California'.
The village is not on a railway line, but there is a bus service. Local pre-school and primary school aged children are catered for within Finchampstead, older children must take the bus to a senior school in Wokingham or one of the other nearby towns. Three bedroom houses in this pretty location start from around £425,000 with prices climbing very quickly and steeply upwards. Lower priced properties are vanishingly scarce.
The lowest priced 3 bedroom houses in Hermitage are a smidgeon under £450,000, however, these are rarely available. This quaintly named village is five miles north east of Newbury, nestled into a fold of the beautiful North Wessex Downs. It is a comparitively large village, and has its own primary school, two popular local pubs, a small selection of everyday shops, and a garden centre. The thriving local community centres their activities around the village hall, and there are all sorts of local clubs and organisations.