Amanda has worked in estate agency in the Southeast of England for a number of years 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 February 2020
|Up to £300,000||From £300,001 to £400,000||£400,000 plus|
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 £320,000 to guarantee a basic 3 bedroom family home in this up and coming village, but expect to pay considerably more 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 £380,000 (February 2020). 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 a sleepy little town with a station 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, and Bracknell was selected 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 now 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 £250,000 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 when changes are necessary.
On the day this article was updated (October 2019) the lowest priced family sized house available in Bray on Rightmove was £525,000. 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.
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, but 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, however, and you need to budget at least £290,000 to guarantee a simple three bedroom house in this popular town.
Caversham is not on a railway line, although it is only a few miles from Reading Station.
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 little surprise that housing is quite pricy here, and even the most basic 3 bedroom house is likely to cost upwards of £410,000. 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, but older children must travel into Maidenhead to attend senior school.
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 of the county. 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 £360,000
The village of Datchet grew up around a ferry port that provided travellers with an easy route across the Thames for many centuries. In 1706, the ferry was replaced by Datchet Bridge, and this in turn was replaced several times before it was 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 within its boundaries, and few of them are priced at less than £400,000. That said, there are a few modern, 3 bedroom terraced and semi-detached houses that are likely to sell from around £375,000. 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.
On the day this aricle was updated in February 2020 there were just six listings for properties with three or more bedrooms showing as available in Eton on the Rightmove website. Only two of these were priced at under a million pounds. I'm certain that there are cheaper opportunities in this highly sought after area from time to time, but I suspect you have to be extremely vigilant to nab a bargain!
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, however, 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 locally, but 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 £310,000 but climb very quickly and steeply upwards. Lower priced properties are vanishingly scarce.
The lowest priced 3 bedroom houses in Hermitage are priced at a smidgeon under £345,000, however, these are few and far between. 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.
Hungerford is a market town on the Kennet and Avon Canal, approximately 9 miles west of Newbury and 67 miles west of London. The town became briefly infamous in 1987 when it was the scene of a gun massacre involving 16 people. The events of that tragic day led to a tightening of gun ownership laws in the UK.
Hungerford has a thriving community, with a number of local sports teams, including an archery club. There are schools through to sixth form, and a good range of everyday shops on the High Street. Hungerford is close to junction 14 of the M4 motorway, and has a station on the London to Exeter Railway Line. trains on a direct line into London Paddington take a little over an hour. A little over £270,000 should be sufficient to buy a simple three bedroom house in Hungerford.
The picturesque, North Wessex Downland village of Kintbury lies between Newbury and Hungerford. Kintbury was named by the Sunday Times in 2007 as one of the 'top ten most sought-after villages in England', and it's easy to see why. Kintbury is ideally placed for convenient travel to the capital and other large towns nearby, yet in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village is small, and has limited amenities, but these include a primary school, a convenience store, and Mildenhall & Bullock Family Butchers Ltd. One of Kintbury's main attractions aside from its good looks is its very convenient railway station making it extremely attractive to commuters to Reading and London. The rail journey from Kintbury to London Paddington takes a little over an hour on a direct line.
Budget a minimum of £310,000 for a basic 3 bedroom house in Kintbury, but be prepared to pay quite a lot more, as there are very few low priced homes on the market in this prestigious location.
The village of Lambourn is famous for its association with race horse training. There are typically over 1500 horses in training in the Lambourn valley with over 50 Racing Yards. The springy downland turf is ideal for gallops and the horse breeding and training fraternity are particularly keen on the uninterrupted open countryside that surrounds the village. The Betfair Lambourn Open Day held on Good Friday every year offers s a great opportunity to see the horses close up. Lambourn lies just north of the M4 Motorway between Swindon and Newbury, and has borders with Wiltshire to the west and Oxfordshire to the north
Lambourn has a basic range of everyday shops alongside more specialist businesses such as sadlers and farriers. The village has a library, a doctors surgery, a dentist, and a primary school. Secondary school pupils take the bus into Hungerford. Although there is no railway station in Lambourn, it is very convenient for the M4 motorway. Basic, three bedroom houses start around £250,000 in Lambourn.
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 £280,000 in this popular area for families.
Maidenhead is a large, affluent,Thames-side town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. In Maidenhead's earliest days, its position on the Thames led to a succession of bridges being built to give access to routes into London. Wharfage soon appeared alongside each successive bridge, and trading boats landed their goods there, helping the settlement to grow and develop into the successful town it is today. The current bridge was built in 1777 at a cost of £19,000.
The cheapest three bedroom properties in Maidenhead start at between £325,000 and £350,000. Look out for reductions on older listings, as these are a sign that keener pricing might be on the way in Maidenhead.
Newbury is the major town in the west of Berkshire. The River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal run through the town, giving it an attractive focus. The town is famous for its racecourse, and is also well-known as the home of Vodafone UK and software company Micro Focus International.
Newbury is located on the edge of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and there are several notable country houses and estates close at hand, including picturesque Donnington Castle, and Highclere Castle. Newbury itself is an historic location with some attractive older-style properties in and around the town.
Blessed with excellent transport links, Newbury lies on the Reading to Plymouth Railway Line and is served by two rail stations; Newbury and Newbury Racecourse. The journey time into London Paddington is around an hour. The town is also conveniently located for the M4 motorway.
£250,000 is a realistic budget for a basic 3 bedroom house in Newbury. You may occasionally find something a little cheaper that needs work doing, or has very compact accommodation (estate agent speak for teeny weeny).
Once you have negotiated your way through a maze of properties on offer under the 'Homebuyer's lifetime lease for the over-60s' scheme, and numerous auctioneer items, you will eventually find the main listings for three bedroom houses in Reading on the Rightmove web-site. The good news is that Reading is, for Berkshire at least, a cheap location. You can realistically expect to find three bedroom houses available from around £250,000. And there are lots of them. In a crazy property market where whole towns and cities are virtually locked down by rental properties, and by home owners who are terrified to move because so little is available, (and who can afford the stamp duty anyway?) Reading, by contrast, has stacks and stacks of available properties. In fact Reading has so much available property that prices are beginning to slip a little, and lots of older listings have been reduced.
Already a substantial settlement in medieval times, Reading was described as a borough in the Domesday Book. An abbey was founded in the town in 1121 by Henry i, and he is buried in the abbey grounds. Tthe ruins of this once great building still remain, and they are open to the public By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, and by 1611, it had a population of over 5000, in part as a result of its successful trade in cloth.
Modern day Reading has grown substantially since its early beginnings, and now has every amenity you might expect in a town of this size including educational establishments through to University level, and a hospital with maternity and emergency services as well as many other departments. The town is also renowned for its annual music festival with many top rated performers from the music industry appearing each year.
The train commute from Reading into London Paddington can take as little as half an hour on the early morning fast routes. There is also a direct line route into London Waterloo.
Riseley lies in the south of Berkshire, adjacent to the border with Hampshire. It is located around 6 miles south of Reading and 8 miles north-east of Basingstoke..There are a few, cheaper end properties in this picture perfect village. These tend to be more modern, terraced or semi-detached houses, if you are lucky enough to find one. The cheapest properties available in Riseley when this article was updated were priced at upwards of £525,000 (October 2019). You will need to budget considerably more if you have set your sights on a pretty period property in this premium location.
The village itself is very small and has no school, no shop, and no railway station. It does, however, have Riseley Village Tea Rooms, a local venture designed to breathe new life back into the village by utilising the Memorial Hall in the afternoons when it is usually unoccupied.
Sandhurst is a small town in the south eastern corner of the county, 33 miles south west of central London, and 6 miles south of Bracknell.
Sandhurst is known worldwide as the location of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the British Army's initial officer training centre. Sandhurst is also home to "The Meadows", a large out-of-town shopping centre. The site includes a Tesco Extra hypermarket, a Next plc clothing and homeware store and a Marks and Spencer. The town has schools through to sixth form, and is on a train route. Trains into London Paddington and London Waterloo take around an hour from here, with one or two changes.
Three bedroom properties start at around £300,000 in Sandhurst.
Slough is a large town about 20 miles west of central London. Popular with commuters into the capital, the town provides an easy train journey into London Paddington taking around half an hour on a direct line. Slough has an historic town centre with a large number of listed buildings, however, 21st century developments have overshadowed the old town, and Slough has become a thriving commercial hub with enormous modern office blocks and factories built in and around the area. As you might expect in a such a large urban development, the town has a choice of local schools, excellent shopping opportunities, and a hospital. Jobs are plentiful, and the town attracts a diverse and multi-cultural community.
You might be lucky enough to find a few properties a smidgeon under £300,000 in Slough, although realistically, it's best to allow for a little over that amount when looking for a basic 3 bedroom home here.
The town of Thatcham straddles the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal. It lies 3 miles east of Newbury, 14 miles west of Reading and 54 miles west of London. Thatcham is a very ancient settlement, with evidence of continuous occupation since prehistoric times. The modern day town has schools through to sixth form, a good selection of shops catering for most day to day needs, and plentiful sports and leisure facilities. It is on a direct rail route into London Paddington, and the commute into the capital takes around an hour.
Three bedroom houses start from around £250,000 in Thatcham.
The price of a typical three bedroom house in the village of Theale is now nudging up towards the £400,000 mark, but it is still possible to find the occassional bargain for a quite a lot less than this. Theale is an appealing, large village, 5 miles south-west of Reading. It is adjoined by both the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal, and has a number of freshwater lakes formed from old gravel pits within its boundaries. The village has a thriving High Street with a good selection of shops, schools through to sixth form, and a station on the London to Exeter railway line. The commute into London Paddington takes around 45 minutes from Theale station. Theale is also handily close to the M4 motorway, and is blessed with its own business park and technology park, so there are plenty of employment opportunities close at hand.
Twyford & Charvil
Twyford is a large village in the Thames Valley on the A4 between Reading and Maidenhead, and it is separated from its sister village of Charvil by a nature reserve offering attractive coutryside vistas and pleasant rambles. Twyford is on the Great Western Main Line and is served by trains between Reading and London Paddington stations. The journey time into Paddington is approximately 50 minutes. There is also a branch line to Henley..
Twyford has schools through to sixth form, a range of everyday shops, and a thriving local community with many organized sports and social activities. Houses in the villages of Twyford and Charvil tend to be quite sought after, and prices for a simple three bedroom family home start at around £425,000, and quickly jump upwards.
The vast majority of properties sold in Wargrave in recent times have been larger, more expensive homes. However, there are a few terraces of simpler, two and three bedroom houses in the area, and you might expect to pay somewhere between £380,000 and £400,000 if you were lucky enough to find one for sale. Realistically though, you'll need a minimum of £500,000 if you are shopping for a family home in Wargrave.
This is a popular village with commuters, as a direct line train into London Paddington takes around an hour.
Wargrave is an ancient Thames-side village, and was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. Although there has been quite a bit of development in more recent years, the village retains its historic character, and there are a number of old and noteworthy buildings in the village centre.
The queen has one of her royal residences in the picturesque, Thames-side town of Windsor. Windsor Castle dominates the town, and attracts visitors from far and wide. As well as being home to our reigning monarch, the castle is open to the public, and provides some interesting and off-beat jobs locally. The town itself has a good selection of everyday shops as well as the predictable array of tourist focussed stores. There is a choice of schools through to sixth form. The town is on a railway route, and the commute into London takes around an hour. A little less than £400,000 should be sufficient to secure a basic 3 bedroom family home in lovely Windsor.
The village of Winnersh lies about 2 miles northwest of Wokingham and around 4 miles southeast of Reading. The commute from Winnersh station to London Paddington takes under an hour. The village has a Sainsbury's superstore and a cinema within its boundaries. There is local provision for primary school aged children, and Forest School offers education for senior school aged boys The nearesr state mixed comprehensives are in Reading and Wokingham. Three bedroom houses start at around £360,000 in this popular commuter village, but you may find the odd terrace house slip onto the market at around £325,000 from time to time.
The good artisans of Wokingham were well known as producers of silk in Tudor times, and some of the houses used in this endeavour can still be seen in Rose Street. Their homes were designed with very tall ground floors to house the looms, and they can still, today, be readily identified by this feature. Mulberry bushes grew in the gardens to feed the silkworms, and a few ancient, gnarled specimens can be found growing around the town. Modern day Wokingham has a far more contemporary focus, however, with many successful hi-tech companies located close at hand, providing ample employment opportunities.
Wokingham has all the facilities that you might expect from an urban development of this size, include a selection of state schools through to sixth form, and a number of independant schools too. All in all, Wokingham is a pleasant and well-served location, and this is reflected in the cost of housing. Although you might be lucky enough to find one of the very occasional cheaper end properties that sneak on to the market in Wokingham, a more realistic budget for a three bedroom home would be closer to £315,000. Wokingham is ideally located for an easy commute into the capital with trains into London Paddington taking around an hour to complete the journey.
Until the 1930s Woodley was a sleepy little village where nothing much happened, but all that was to change with the development of Woodley Aerodrome in a 100-acre field belonging to Sandford Farm. Miles Aircraft Ltd set up a factory on the site in 1932 and many of the aircraft so crucial to Britain in the Second World War, were built there. Just under 6,000 civil and military aircraft were built and first flown at Woodley between 1933 and 1962. Today, Woodley's contribution to aviation history is remembered at the Museum of Berkshire Aviation to the south of the former airfield.
With so much activity going on at the Aerodrome, Woodley began to grow and prosper. Other new industries relocated from Reading, and houses were built to accommodate the workforce. However, the 1960s saw the end of Woodley's aviation history when the old airfield and the last remaining aircraft factory, were finally closed. A new town centre was created, and the former aerodrome was redeveloped for housing.
Modern day Woodley has schools through to sixth form including a choice of comprehensives. The nearest railway station and major hospital are both only a few miles away at Reading. Three bedroom houses start at around £300,000, but prices quickly escalate upwards.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.