Amanda has worked in estate agency in the Southeast of England for a number of years in both residential and commercial property sales.
Devon is a beautiful county and is home to some of Britain's best-loved holiday destinations. With winding country lanes, rolling hills, vast acres of moorland, and a rugged coastline to both the North, and to the South, Devon has a lot to offer. Property prices here vary greatly. The holiday hotspots are often over-priced because of the large amount of 'second homes' bought by people from out of the area, whereas the larger, inland towns are generally cheaper than the national average. Employment opportunities can be thin on the ground in the more rural locations, and this has a marked affect on house prices. This price guide shows the typical price bands for the most basic three bedroom house in the larger towns and villages, and was updated in January 2020.
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Buying a basic 3 bedroom house in Devon - Approximate prices for cheapest available properties
World renowned for the carpets that bear it's name, the historic market town of Axminster still relies on carpet manufacturing for a proportion of it's local employment. Thomas Whitty established his carpet-making business here in 1755, and a museum celebrating his successes stands in the town centre, near the Minster.
Houses with 3 bedrooms can be purchased in Axminster from approximately £185,000 (January 2020) with the occassional bargain at a little below that price. The town is built in a beautiful location on a hillside overlooking the River Axe. It has a Sports Centre and Swimming Pool, a library, good local shops, and a small, local hospital. A choice of schools in Axminster provide education through to sixth form. Reasonable transport links include a mainline rail station.
Barnstaple is the largest town in North Devon. It has an interesting and chequered history. Once an important and prosperous river port, thanks largely to the developing trade with America in the 16th and 17th centuries, the town grew rich off the back of the Devon wool merchants. Impressive and substantial houses built by wealthy businessmen of that era survive to this day, often hidden away behind more recent frontages. Over time the river that had brought such prosperity to Barnstaple gradually silted up. Trading ships became a rare sight, and the town's prospects looked to be in jeopardy. Fortunately, however, with the invention of the railway, Devon was 'discovered' as a tourist destination by the Victorians, Modern-day Barnstaple relies heavily on the retail and tourism sectors for employment opportunities. The town is on a main rail line, and the North Devon Link Road connects Barnstaple with the M5 motorway, approximately 40 miles (65 km) to the east. Three bedroom properties in the town start from approximately £150,000.
The pretty coastal village of Beer has three bedroom homes for sale from around £285,000, but you'll need to be quick, as the cheaper houses rarely come on the market here, and consequently get snapped up. The village is situated on the picturesque cliffs of the 95-mile long Jurassic Coast, England's first natural World Heritage Site. Beer is home to a well known cave complex, the Beer Quarry Caves. The stone quarried from these caves has been important since Roman times, prized for its suitability for carving and for its soft yellow colour. Beer has a Church of England primary school, a medical practice and a basic selection of local shops. The nearest mainline railway station is in Axminster.
Bideford is one of Devon's cheapest locations for buying property. Three bedroom houses can be bought in this pretty, coastal town, for as little as £150,000. Once the third largest port in Britain, Bideford sits on the estuary of the River Torridge, and is famous for its 'long bridge' which was constructed in 1474 to link the East and West parts of the town. The nearest train station to Bideford is 7 miles away, at Barnstaple, but the town is served by good local buses, and there is also a ferry service to Lundy Island, a small island in the Bristol Channel, popular with bird-watchers and rock climbers.
Bovey Tracey takes its name partly from the River Bovey, and partly from the de Tracey family who were lords of the manor after the Norman Conquest. Originally a Saxon settlement, the town lies approximately halfway between Newton Abbot and Moretonhampstead, and the town's signage, proudly proclaims it to be the 'Gateway to the Moor'. Bovey Tracey has occasional three bedroom houses available at less than £250,000, but realistically, it's best to budget around £270,000 to guarantee finding a basic family home in this attractive and historic town.
Braunton is a large village 5 miles west of Barnstaple, which in recent years, has become known for it's excellent surfing beach. Popular with both walkers and surfers alike, employment opportunities in the village are mainly agricultural or to do with tourism. Attracive semi-detached three bedroom homes can be bought from around £265,000. Occasional tiny, terraced houses slip on to the market for quite a lot less..
Budleigh lies on the South West Coast Path, with clifftop routes to Sidmouth and Exmouth. The pebble beach and cliffs form part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site. Budleigh is a small town which is geared towards the tourist trade. The nearest railway station is about five miles away, at Exmouth.
Basic three bedroom homes may be bought here from around £305,000 but the cheaper homes seldom come on the market in this attractive location, so a more practical minimum budget would be £350,000 plus.
The beautiful town of Chagford is situated on the north-east edge of Dartmoor, about 4 miles (6 km) west of Moretonhampstead. Well-known for its vibrant arts community, Chagford attracts many visitors and tourists. The town has a long history and archaeological discoveries in the area date back 4000 years. Modern day Chagford, with its mix of older, traditional style houses and newer homes, is a popular place to live. Three bedroom houses start from around £330,000 (January 2020) but an occasional, smaller property may appear for sale, so its worth keeping your eyes open.
Once a thriving centre for the manufacture of woollen cloth, the Mid-Devon town of Crediton gradually changed direction over the centuries, and by the early 20th century shoe-making, tanning, tin-plating and the manufacture of confectionery and cider had superseded the woollen and serge industries. Today the town has two large industrial parks which provide many of the employment opportunities locally. With excellent rail links, good local shopping, sports and leisure facilities, and schools through to sixth form, Crediton is a good location for first time buyers. Properties with three bedrooms start at approximately £250,000, but look out for bargains, as the town is experiencing some reduction in property prices.
There is so little property available in the popular seaside village of Croyde, that it is difficult to get a feel for the true range of property prices. Suffice it to say, that this is not really first time buyer territory. You are unlikely to find even the most basic of houses for under £395,000, and realistically you may have to pay considerably more to secure your dream home in this favoured place. Because of the enormous popularity of this handsome location with its spectacular sandy beach, second-home owners have flocked to Croyde, and as a consequence locals find it all but impossible to get a first foothold on the housing ladder locally. On the day this article was updated (January 2020) the cheapest available three bedroom home in Croyde on the Rightmove website, was priced at £395,000. However of the five properties listed, three were showing price reductions, so maybe the tide is beginning to turn in this glorious corner of Devon.
The street plan of Cullompton town centre still follows the medieval layout, and remains more or less as shown on a map of 1663, with a wider area at the North end where markets were held, roads to Tiverton and Ponsford, and a small lane leading down to a mill.
Cullompton first began to prosper in the 16th century, through its connections to the wool trade. These solid foundations were further enhanced when the Wellington based firm Fox Brothers built a factory in the town in 1890. Their high quality woolen and worsted cloth continued to be manufactured at Cullompton until 1977. Much of the Khaki used by the army in the First World War was woven here.
These days local industry is mainly concerned with paper and flour production. The glory days of the big woolen mills has long-passed.The M5 motorway passes close to the town, and has helped make it popular with commuters, so many inhabitants are able to travel further afield for work.
Cullompton has 3 bedroom houses available from around £190,000, or a little less on a good day.
Dartmouth's historic town centre is a maze of medieval and Elizabethan lanes and alleys, many connected by ancient stone stairways. A large number of the oldest buildings are listed, including one known as the Butterwalk, which was built between 1635 and 1640. Granite columns support its intricately carved wooden fascia, and much of the 17th century interior is still in place.
Dartmouth is blessed with a deep-water port for sailing vessels, and has always been of strategic importance for this reason. Notable tourist attractions include the Dartmouth Royal Naval College, Dartmouth Castle and the Dartmouth Steam Railway.
The town is linked to Kingswear, on the other side of the River Dart, by three ferries, which include transport for both foot passengers and motor vehicles.. The closest bridge across the Dart is at Totnes, some 11 miles away by road. The nearest rail connection is across the water at Kingswear.
Three bedroom houses in Dartmouth can be bought from around £200,000, but prices climb quite steeply upwards. There continues to be a good smattering of price reductions on older listings, so look out for bargains.
The seaside town of Dawlish is located at the outlet of a small river, Dawlish Water, and it has a wonderful, sandy beach with cliffs behind. Dawlish is known for its black swans, introduced from Western Australia, which live alongside other exotic waterfowl in a small urban sanctuary on Dawlish Water. The town itself is popular with holiday-makers, and is easily accessed by both rail and road. 3 bedroom homes can be bought in this popular location from around £185,000.
As well as being the home of Devon County Council, Exeter is the county town of Devon, and lies on the River Exe, about 37 miles northeast of Plymouth, and 70 miles southwest of Bristol. The city has its roots in the Roman invasion, and was once the most South-Westerly outpost of Roman Britain, when it was known as Isca Dumnoniorum. As you might expect in such a large and important town, there are excellent educational establishments through to university level, as well as plentiful shops, and great sports and leisure facilities. Exeter is on a mainline rail route, and there is a small international airport just east of the city.
3 bedroom houses may be bought in Exeter from approximately £175,000.
In the late 18th century well-to-do English travellers were effectively prevented from holidaying in Europe by the revolution in France. Casting around for a suitable home-grown alternative, the well-heeled society folk were soon attracted by the views and medicinal salt waters of Exmouth which had become newly fashionable. Exmouth was soon famed as a destination for the wealthy to recover their health. Notable visitors in this period included Lady Byron and her daughter Ada Lovelace.
Modern day Exmouth remains a bustling tourist destination. Sited on the east coast of Devon, where the River Exe meets the sea, the town has an eclectic range of shops, plentiful places to eat, and a variety things to do, with an emphasis on outdoor activities such as wind-surfing and kite-surfing.
Three bedroom properties can be bought in Exmouth from around £200,00, although lower end houses are few and far between.
Honiton was once an important resting place on the Fosse Way, the ancient Roman road linking Exeter to Lincoln. The location is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Honetone, meaning a farm belonging to Huna. Eventually it became an important market town, known for its lace making, and by the 17th century, thousands of locals produced lace by hand in their homes. The products were so well-regarded that Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made of Honiton lace. Although no longer in full scale production, the exquisite fabric is still made in Devon today by very specialist crafts folk who keep the lacemaking tradition alive.
Honiton has schools through to sixth form, good transport links, including a main-line railway station, a public swimming pool, and a wide range of shops including many that specialise in antiques. Basic 3 bedroom family homes start at around £200,000. Small, terraced houses sometimes appear on the market a little below that figure.
The harbour at Ilfracombe is guarded by the Damien Hirst statue, 'Verity', a controversial, and striking figure, which can be seen by visitors as they enter port. Ilfracombe harbour is the main embarkation point for The M.S. Oldenburg, a ship which is owned by the Landmark Trust, and acts as a link between the mainland, and the off-shore island of Lundy. The harbour at Ilfracombe is very attractive, and the little town that has grown up behind it is full of interesting and quirky properties. Three bedroom houses are available to buy in lovely Ilfracombe from a little under £175,000.
Kingsbridge has been an important part of Devon for many centuries, and the historic town centre retains a number of 18th and 19th-century buildings, including 'The Shambles', or market arcade, which was rebuilt in 1796, and the former grammar school, now a museum, built in 1670. Popular with tourists, the town has good shopping facilities, a swimming pool, and schools through to sixth form. Basic three bedroom properties may be bought in Kingsbridge from approximately £255,000.
Moretonhampstead is a town that lies on the edge of Dartmoor, and relies heavily on tourism for jobs, as its central location makes it ideal as a base for exploring both Dartmoor and Devon. Enjoying an elevated position, Moretonhampstead is popular with walkers and hikers. Three bedroom houses may be bought in the town from around £325,000, but the cheaper end properties are few and far between, so you might have to be vigilant to catch a bargain.
In medieval times Devon was known for its sheep rearing. Many towns had their own wool and cloth industries and Newton Abbot was no exception. The streets of the town were busy with the activities of woollen mills, dyers, spinners, fullers, weavers and tailors. Cloth manufactured here was regularly shipped to Holland via Exeter. Newton Abbot prospered throughout the 17th and 18th centuries due both to its successful fabric industry, and the tanneries and leather goods manufacturers that had also sprung up locally.
21st century Newton Abbot is a medium sized town with schools through to sixth form level, a good local hospital, a cinema, a mainline railway station, and a full range of high street shops.Sprawling modern housing estates now surround the historic heart of the old town. Three bedroom houses can be bought in Newton Abbott from around £155,000.
Three bedroom houses are available in Okehampton from around £150,000. The town is situated at the northern edge of Dartmoor, and has its own castle, which is currently owned by English Heritage. Okehampton town centre has a range of retail shops including three supermarkets and a number of independent traders. Local schools have places through to sixth form.
Paignton is a seaside town on the coast of Tor Bay, and is part of an area popularly known as 'The English Riviera'. The wide sandy beach at Paignton is well-loved by visitors and holiday-makers, and the town has a pier, a zoo, and a steam-railway, to add to its many attractions. Basic 3 bedroom family homes commence at around £140,000.
Plymouth is a city on Devon's south coast, lying between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west. The city has a large population, and consequently, there are excellent shopping, health, and sports and leisure facilities locally. Plymouth is on a train route, and also has good road links. Education through to University level is available within the city. One of Devon's cheapest locations, Plymouth has three bedroom homes for sale from around £120,000, with some tenanted houses and properties in need of structural repair available for considerably less. .
The village of Princetown has its origins in 1785, when Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, Secretary to the Prince of Wales, leased a large portion of Dartmoor from the Duchy of Cornwall estate, with the intention of farming it. Other people soon came to live in the area and it was suggested that a prison be built there to house the thousands of captives of the Napoleonic Wars. A prison exists in this location to this day, and Dartmoor Prison is now used for male category C prisoners. The large village that gradually developed to service the farm and the prison became known as Princetown after the Prince of Wales.
Modern day Princetown is popular with hikers and walkers exploring the moors. The village itself has a thriving community, and new, additional housing is planned in the near future. The cheapest three bedroom homes currently for sale in Princetown are priced at around £280,000, but be prepared to pay quite a lot more, as the lower end properties are few and far between.
Property in Salcombe is much more expensive than in most other Devon towns. Occasionally a small terraced property might appear on the market priced around £300,000, but these are not common. A more realistic budget for a basic 3 bedroom home would be £400,000 plus. Salcombe is close to the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary, built mostly on the hilly west side of the estuary and lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The town has an extensive waterfront and a naturally sheltered harbour. It is especially popular with leisure sailors and yachtsmen, but holiday-makers of all kinds flock to this popular seaside resort.
Seaton has a reputation for being a retirement destination, and many of the smaller homes in the town are occupied by retirees who have come to this lovely seaside location to enjoy their later years in the beautiful Devon countryside. Property prices are higher here than in much of Devon, and you are not very likely to find many three bedroom houses in the town for less than £230,000.
The Seaton Tramway takes visitors across country to Colyford and Colyton, and runs alongside the estuary giving views of both the nature reserve on one side and seascape on the other.
Sidmouth is another Devon location favoured by retirees. The silver pound has contributed to higher than average house prices for the county, and it is consequently rare to find a habitable three bedroom house under £245,000 in this seaside town with its wonderful sandy beach. Sidmouth is well known for its annual folk week which takes place every August.
Tavistock traces its recorded history back to at least AD 961 when Tavistock Abbey was founded, the ruins of which, still stand in the town centre. Tavistock is the birth-place of the famed Elizabethan explorer, Sir Francis Drake, and was also associated with the Dukes of Bedford for many centuries. Tin and copper mines in the area ensured the town's prosperity, and the Devon Wool Trade also contributed. Modern day Tavistock provides shopping, leisure, and educational facilities for a wide surrounding, rural area. Approximately £190,000 should be sufficient to secure a basic three bedroom house in Tavistock.
Teignmouth is situated on the north bank of the estuary of the River Teign, about 14 miles south of Exeter. In 1690, a French invasion force landed in the town, looting and burning houses, and destroying several boats in the harbour, making Teignmouth the last place in England to be invaded by a foreign power. The modern town is both a working port and a popular seaside holiday location, Three bedroom properties are offered for sale in Teignmouth from around £150,000.
The Devon wool trade which was so strong in the 16th and 17th centuries, enabled Tiverton to grow and prosper into the large Mid-Devon town we know today. However, by the end of the 18th century, cotton imports, and rapid industrialization in the North of England, combined with other factors to ensure the decline of the local wool trade. It was only an intervention by the industrialist John Heathcott, who relocated his lace-making factory to Tiverton, that once again revived the town's fortunes. The arrival of the railway in 1844, further enhanced the town's standing, and Tiverton is now an important part of Mid-Devon. Three bedroom houses may be bought here from around £160,000.
The Celtic settlement of Topsham became a Roman port serving the city of Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter) in the first century AD, and this arrangement continued until the end of the Roman occupation of southern Britain in around 400 AD. In later years the settlement continued to prosper until it was eventually granted a town charter in 1300. Although designated town status it is really a large village these days, and is popular with day-trippers and holiday-makers. Topsham's seaside location, easy access by road and rail, and quaint, old-fashioned town centre, all ensure that house prices remain relatively high. Budget at least £385,000 if you hope to buy a 3 bedroom house in lovely Topsham, but realistically you may need substantially more.
Totnes was one of the first towns in the UK to declare itself a 'Transition Town'. This initiative has seen the introduction of the Totnes Pound, and various schemes to reduce carbon emissions, and encourage local food production. The town has a thriving 'alternative' community, and in 2008, a magazine named it as one of the world's top ten 'funky towns'.
Totnes is built on a hill rising from the west bank of the River Dart, and has a mainline railway station. Basic three bedroom family homes are available from around £300,000, with prices escalating quite quickly upwards..
Woolacombe is a North Devon seaside resort boasting one of the best beaches in Europe. The three mile long stretch of sandy, gently sloping, Atlantic-facing beach is Woolacombe's pride and joy. The town is a popular destination for surfing and family holidays and there are large numbers of second homes, and holiday homes in the area. Unsurprisingly, property prices are high in this sought-after location. If you are hoping to buy a three bedroom property in Woolacombe, make sure you have at least £500,000 in your budget, but do look out for the occasional bargain-priced doer-upper or tiny, quirky property that slip in at a lower price.
Yelverton is a large village on the south-western edge of Dartmoor. It has an active community life, good local shops and a couple of nice pubs. It is also home to Buckland Abbey, a National Trust property that was once the home of the famous Elizabethan sea-farer and explorer, Sir Francis Drake. Three bedroom homes in Yelverton start at around £300,000, but you'll have to be quick, because available property is scarce here, and most properties in the village are quite individual and likely to have quite high price tags..
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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.
Amanda Severn (author) from UK on February 19, 2015:
Thanks for stopping by and commenting Mick Beet.
Mick Bert from Australia on February 18, 2015:
Amanda Severn (author) from UK on December 18, 2014:
Hi Georgina, thanks for pointing out the omission! I've now added Chagford into the list. Merry Christmas to you!
Georgina Crawford from Dartmoor on December 17, 2014:
Interesting article. No mention of Chagford, or 'little London' just five milesvon from Moretonhampstead, but then, it's not really cheap! Exeter is a lovely city, worth a visit, and Moretonhampstead is a thriving town with lots of arts and spectacular landscape. Rating up and sharing.