Why move to Hungerford

PUBLISHED: 10:53 22 November 2013 | UPDATED: 10:53 22 November 2013

Canal at Hungerford. Berkshire. England

Canal at Hungerford. Berkshire. England

Archant

In need of a little rural retreat, or a country residence? Then head to Hungerford, where it seems it’s a good time to buy some fascinating properties.

Hungerford

Population: 6,700

OS grid reference: SU337685

Almost ten years ago an article published in the Independent newspaper asserted that unless you were interested in “golf, horses, angling or antiques” there was very little to do in Hungerford. There was however, a caveat. The writer added: “….and for most locals that is just as it should be.” So, a decade on, guess what? It still hasn’t changed that much. The historic market town remains very rural and there are more period properties here than elsewhere in West Berkshire.

Properties in the High Street tend to be timber framed with ‘modern’ Georgian frontages. Add to this the boutique shops and a good selection of pubs and restaurants, plus good road and rail links and you can see the area’s appeal. What’s more, buyers are still coming from London, making demand far outstrip supply.

People are attracted to the town by the prospect of putting down roots in a pretty rural community that is still within commuting distance of London or indeed, anywhere in the Thames Valley. In the centre are picture-postcard thatched cottages and elegant Georgian town houses, while within three miles are a handful of charming villages, such as Kintbury, Chilton Foliat and Eastbury.

Hungerford has always commanded a significant level of interest and popularity for buyers. Demand for character homes is especially high.

Local estate agent Marc Allen says that despite this, prices are still affordable. “You get a lot more for your money out here, even though there’s a rail link to London.”

The property market in Hungerford has been through a quiet time in the last four years, but the situation is certainly picking up.

Patrick Glyn-Jones of Savills comments: “The market here has been significantly better over the first half of this year than last with transaction levels notably higher. Part of this has been driven by the London market, where prices have risen to levels that have prompted owners in the capital to consider a change of lifestyle. The ripples are certainly extending to Berkshire and the charm of the market town of Hungerford and the relative good value of properties here and in the surrounding countryside make it a very appealing town.”

Rob Wightman of Knight Frank agrees and says his agency has certainly seen a very busy summer. “August was unbelievable. We’ve been taking on new clients and doing deals, so it’s fingers crossed for the autumn.”

There are new homes, too. Belmont Crescent, an exclusive development of just 14 one and three bedroom homes, forms an attractive, terraced crescent close to the town centre that has sold very quickly. A three-bed terrace has a price tag of with £259,950.

At the upper end of the scale Savills is marketing a high-spec new family home with four bedrooms and two en-suites in a nearby village for £650,000.

Tony Nye of Nye & Co., sums up the mood at the moment when he says: “The market is improving and more properties are coming on. With the governor of the Bank of England saying interest rates will stay at the same for the next three years people are saying ‘why wait?’”

Did you know? The South East’s highest point, Walbury Hill, is just four miles away, with its 974ft summit (beating Surrey’s Leith Hill by 10ft!).

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