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fairygirl

Tunbridge Wells/cranbrook

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We are thinking of moving to the Tunbridge Wells/Cranbrook area and wondered if anyone had any advice on where's nice, where's less nice, etc. We are in our 30s with two young children, so are interested to hear that the schools are supposed to be good - is that true? What's been happening with property prices there recently? How does that bit of Kent compare with other areas, or nearby Sussex? We are looking at both urban and rural locations - not sure really where's best to live. Thanks in advance for any advice!

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I have lived in TW for several years (though currently working overseas). Life there depends a lot on how you commute and which schools your children would go to. The TW to Tonbridge road (St John's Rd, A26) is a long traffic jam most mornings and evenings, and the A21 via Pembury is little better. Tonbridge High Street is also a bottleneck. Many people use dangerous rat runs to avoid the queues. If you commute to Canon Street by train, use the Tonbridge Line, Tunbridge Wells trains to that station are full, and are on a branch line with a less frequent service.

The most popular state primary in TW is Claremont, and property prices nearby reflect it. But many others are good as far as I know. The best private school used to be Holmewood House, but I am a little out of date. The state grammars are good, but require the 11 plus. Failure at this means either going to a school with a slight reputation as a sink, or going to the Beacon in Crowborough or Uplands in Wadhurst. Bennet is a good church secondary, but (unless recently changed) you had to 1) be a regular churchgoer (frequency required depended on the attitude of your local vicar) and 2) opt out of the 11 plus system.

Housing in TW is very mixed from flats and small terraced to mansions - I am not sure what you would want. Despite the reputation for retired wealth ('disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'), my wife and I found everyone friendly and excellently diverse in background and interest. The best residential districts of TW and Tonbridge are excellent. Avoid north Tonbridge up the the Shipbourne road beyond Tonbridge (Public) School. I cannot say my finger is on the houseprice pulse, but I get the impression there has been a small lurch upwards at the beginning of this year after perhaps 2 years of stagnation.

That should do for a start. If you want any more on living in TW and Tonbridge let me know.

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I have lived in TW for several years (though currently working overseas). Life there depends a lot on how you commute and which schools your children would go to. The TW to Tonbridge road (St John's Rd, A26) is a long traffic jam most mornings and evenings, and the A21 via Pembury is little better. Tonbridge High Street is also a bottleneck. Many people use dangerous rat runs to avoid the queues. If you commute to Canon Street by train, use the Tonbridge Line, Tunbridge Wells trains to that station are full, and are on a branch line with a less frequent service.

The most popular state primary in TW is Claremont, and property prices nearby reflect it. But many others are good as far as I know. The best private school used to be Holmewood House, but I am a little out of date. The state grammars are good, but require the 11 plus. Failure at this means either going to a school with a slight reputation as a sink, or going to the Beacon in Crowborough or Uplands in Wadhurst. Bennet is a good church secondary, but (unless recently changed) you had to 1) be a regular churchgoer (frequency required depended on the attitude of your local vicar) and 2) opt out of the 11 plus system.

Housing in TW is very mixed from flats and small terraced to mansions - I am not sure what you would want. Despite the reputation for retired wealth ('disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'), my wife and I found everyone friendly and excellently diverse in background and interest. The best residential districts of TW and Tonbridge are excellent. Avoid north Tonbridge up the the Shipbourne road beyond Tonbridge (Public) School. I cannot say my finger is on the houseprice pulse, but I get the impression there has been a small lurch upwards at the beginning of this year after perhaps 2 years of stagnation.

That should do for a start. If you want any more on living in TW and Tonbridge let me know.

Hi Onlooker,

Thanks for that excellent summary & very useful info regarding schools, bottlenecks, rat runs & trains to London. If we move there, we would probably be looking for a good 3 bed house, in a good catchment area, to start with, hoping to move up to something a little larger over time, if possible. If we do progress to buying there, I will ask more info, if that's OK?

Many thanks,

FG

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As well as Claremont, St Johns & St James are very good primary schools (I'm a little biased, I went to St Johns). 3 beds in the catchement areas go for approx £300k, some selling quickly but my dads in the St Johns catchment area just went for under asking, after a price drop and nine months on the market.

However I went to look at a run down house with my dad with a view for him to do up and sell on at the weekend, but it was too expensive and the numbers didnt add up at all. But there were so many other people viewing in the one hour "open house" and they wanted bids in by Friday. We await the final figures on nethouseprices with interest!

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Hi,

I'm from T.Wells as well. Can't give you too much info on house prices in the area, only what I know.

We spent 14 months trying to sell our 2 bed flat, which we got rid of last November, so I don't think the flat market is great at present here.

Also, the flat we are renting recently sold. It was on the market for £350k but went for £286k in the end.

However, houses unfortunately seem to still be selling well. I know of 2 people with 2 bed houses who've sold very quickly recently (one on 24 hours!).

Saying that, the BBC website has prices as falling 8.6% last Quarter in the town, so it is looking up!

I'm just hoping for a correction so that I can get myself a nice 3 bed with garden etc in the not so distant future.

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Hi,

I'm from T.Wells as well. Can't give you too much info on house prices in the area, only what I know.

We spent 14 months trying to sell our 2 bed flat, which we got rid of last November, so I don't think the flat market is great at present here.

Also, the flat we are renting recently sold. It was on the market for £350k but went for £286k in the end.

However, houses unfortunately seem to still be selling well. I know of 2 people with 2 bed houses who've sold very quickly recently (one on 24 hours!).

Saying that, the BBC website has prices as falling 8.6% last Quarter in the town, so it is looking up!

I'm just hoping for a correction so that I can get myself a nice 3 bed with garden etc in the not so distant future.

I expected the local market to be a lot stronger at this point (I live in Tonbridge str'd from Bidborough) and was thinking of a "spring bounce" of around 5% This hasn't happened - but you can forget those BBC figs - usefull for winding up friends! I'm expecting the drop to start late summer / early Autumn - We'll just have to wait and see!

Edited by cupidstunt

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To be fair I think T.Wells has been flooded with 2 bed flats in the past few years. T.W Flats (local agents) have at any one point over 75 flats on the market, and in total I think there were over 300 last year. It means selling one has become a bit of a lottery and the prices reflect that.

Houses on the other hand are in short supply so I think that is why they go so quickly, even the 2 bed no garden terraces seem to fly.

Also hoping the drops start by the end of the summer. I wouldn't mind renting for years, but my wife wants the whole Garden/own house to fix up scenario, which is proving difficult to quash.

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To be fair I think T.Wells has been flooded with 2 bed flats in the past few years. T.W Flats (local agents) have at any one point over 75 flats on the market, and in total I think there were over 300 last year. It means selling one has become a bit of a lottery and the prices reflect that.

Houses on the other hand are in short supply so I think that is why they go so quickly, even the 2 bed no garden terraces seem to fly.

Also hoping the drops start by the end of the summer. I wouldn't mind renting for years, but my wife wants the whole Garden/own house to fix up scenario, which is proving difficult to quash.

I have noticed exactly the same thing in T Wells. It seems very strange that there are so many flats in what has traditionally been a slightly older area. I suppose that the volume of large victorian houses in the central area that lend themselves to being converted have an effect, but it is the new builds that I cannot understand.

T Wells is a nice place to live, but is not particularly commutable, and there is not much well paid work locally. These factors would clearly put off the usual 'young prof' flat buyers.

Interestingly, Sevenoaks is quite different. There are not too many flats on the market, and the ones near the station seem to go very quickly. Still not much work locally, but a much quicker train into London.

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Interestingly, Sevenoaks is quite different. There are not too many flats on the market, and the ones near the station seem to go very quickly. Still not much work locally, but a much quicker train into London.

Problem with Sevenoaks is that it is the same train that goes through T.Wells first. By the time the train gets to Sevenoaks it is standing room only and you only save 20 minutes on the commute.

I do agree T.Wells has too many flats, and I'll forever regret buying ours. Especially when my wife wanted a house (i'll never hear the end of it!!). I just hope the prices of houses comes back in the future.

I think there are a huge amount of people in T.W who own nices houses, who released equity for buy flats for their kids/retirement/BTL etc. I guess if Flat prices come back a lot then maybe houses will too.

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I think there are a huge amount of people in T.W who own nices houses, who released equity for buy flats for their kids/retirement/BTL etc. I guess if Flat prices come back a lot then maybe houses will too.

As with everything it will depend on the way people are geared. If they have taken on too much debt, it will start to show quicker. The problem is with T Wells, a lot of people are likely to have had the money to invest in the first place.

In terms of the flats, the over-supply must have an effect. The trains take the best part of an hour, there only seem to be about 4 per hour at peak, and the cost of a season ticket must be sky-high.

As I mentioned before, I really like T Wells, but would not move there while I work in London, the commute would be too wearing. I am sure a lot of people would be in the same position, so who is going to buy/rent all of the flats - especially the over-priced new build ones?

I can only think that a lot of these new builds have been at the planning stage for a few years, when it would have been a different story. Prices in T Wells were comparatively reasonable, so more people would have put up with the commute. Now that you can live in a reasonable London suburb for the same price as T Wells, a lot of commuters will choose to halve their travel time (and season ticket cost).

This leaves local workers who typically will not earn enough to support these prices.

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As with everything it will depend on the way people are geared. If they have taken on too much debt, it will start to show quicker. The problem is with T Wells, a lot of people are likely to have had the money to invest in the first place.

In terms of the flats, the over-supply must have an effect. The trains take the best part of an hour, there only seem to be about 4 per hour at peak, and the cost of a season ticket must be sky-high.

As I mentioned before, I really like T Wells, but would not move there while I work in London, the commute would be too wearing. I am sure a lot of people would be in the same position, so who is going to buy/rent all of the flats - especially the over-priced new build ones?

I can only think that a lot of these new builds have been at the planning stage for a few years, when it would have been a different story. Prices in T Wells were comparatively reasonable, so more people would have put up with the commute. Now that you can live in a reasonable London suburb for the same price as T Wells, a lot of commuters will choose to halve their travel time (and season ticket cost).

This leaves local workers who typically will not earn enough to support these prices.

We;ve been saying the same for 5 years!!! Local workers (bar a few!!) don't earn anywhere near enough to support the prices. Hopefully when the price drops come they will be reflected in how large the rises were to start with!

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We are thinking of moving to the Tunbridge Wells/Cranbrook area and wondered if anyone had any advice on where's nice, where's less nice, etc. We are in our 30s with two young children, so are interested to hear that the schools are supposed to be good - is that true? What's been happening with property prices there recently? How does that bit of Kent compare with other areas, or nearby Sussex? We are looking at both urban and rural locations - not sure really where's best to live. Thanks in advance for any advice!

Hi Fairygirl,

I can seriously recommend TW as a place to live with young children (I have a 4 year old). It's exceptionally friendly where we live (the area around the Grove park) and the amenities (restaurants, shops, etc.) are fantastic - you have the choice of the chainstores, combined with more interesting independents. Also, there's such beautiful countryside right on the doorstep.

Before our daughter was born, we lived in Belsize Park in London, which I loved. But since the schools are such a lottery in London, and since we have lots of family in Kent, we made the move here and I have to say it was one of the best decisions we ever made. I even find the commute OK, though I work near London Bridge, so don't need to take a tube.

Groombridge is another very popular choice. It's not far from Tunbridge Wells at all, but it's in East Sussex. The houses there are a little cheaper than in Tunbridge Wells and the local primary, St Thomas's, is the best in the county. That said, East Sussex doesn't 'benefit' from the grammar school system that Kent has, so quite a few people make the move back to Tunbridge Wells when their kids get old enough for secondary school.

I already posted a thread on here a while ago about house prices in Tunbridge Wells, but my interest in the housing market has waned a little since January - it all seems to be very static here - not going up or down, though I would agree with the other posters on this thread that houses seem to sell better than flats - I guess it's a family sort of town and therefore the market for houses is stronger. I made a prediction about a year ago, when we were seeing real falls around here, that house prices would fall up to 30%, bottoming out in 2010, but unless the BOE raise interest rates or banks get tighter on lending, I'm beginning to suspect it might not happen. We'll see.

We STRed in October 2004, thinking to buy again around 2007, when I thought prices would have dropped sufficiently for us to get the kind of place we want for the budget we have. That said, the place we rent is so gorgeous I have no desire to move again!

You'd probably be best off renting yourselves for a year, just to see if you like the place before buying here.

Anyway, I'll drag up my old thread for you and let me know if you decide to make the move and want any further advice about schools or nurseries - I'm a bore on the subject!

Stressed-Out

p.s. the little I know about Cranbrook is that it's cheaper (relatively) than Tunbridge Wells because it doesn't have a train line near it and its local primary school is not so great. There are some top Independents nearby, though. Mainly people move there when their kids reach secondary school age because you're then entitled to send them to Cranbrook School an odd sort of Public-State school with a decent reputation:

http://www.cranbrookschool.co.uk/

Edited by Stressed-Out

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The problem with the train service from Tunbridge Wells is that it's on the branch line to Hastings. The main line service to Dover passes through Tonbridge and Paddock Wood is fine and a much better bet for commuting IMO.

Remember that there are a diversity of LEA regimes in Kent, not all of whom view the prevailing regime West Kent which runs North South between Kemsing and Westerham in the North (very broadly) to Tunbridge Wells/Pembury in the South. If you're looking for Grammar then my guess is that you'll be strongly advised to stay within its boundaries - I maybe completely out of date, but I doubt it and so do please check this out. As I recall, the day school fees at say Tonbridge or Sevenoaks or Sutton Valence were circa £5K per term several years ago. There are plenty of prep schools which feed these school and also the Grammars, which are generally excellent. The village primaries are heavily oversubscribed or so I'm told.

Personally, I'd go for Tonbridge in preference to Tunbridge Wells if I were taking a commercial view of the housing prospects, which I thibnk are quite good.

HTH

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Personally, I'd go for Tonbridge in preference to Tunbridge Wells if I were taking a commercial view of the housing prospects, which I thibnk are quite good.

HTH

I'd agree 100% with this view. Tonbridge isn't as 'pretty' as T Wells or Sevenoaks, but is priced accordingly. There are several areas in Tonbridge that should be avoided at all costs, but there are a lot of roads in the south part of town that are nice, and within a 10 minute walk of the station.

As KentishFella mentioned, commuting is much better from Tonbridge than T Wells, as it is on the mainline from Dover, the line from Hastings, and another line giving a direct link with East Croydon.

There is not much 'top end' housing in Tonbridge, certainly compared to Sevenoaks, but a lot of soild family 3-4 bed houses in the £250-£350k range.

Tonbridge is well placed for all of the grammar schools in the West Kent system, half of which are in Tonbridge itself, and the other half in nearby Southborough. The disadvantage of living further north (Westerham,Sevenoaks), is that whilst you remain in the catchment are, you can have a 10-15 mile journey to get to the schools themselves.

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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