11 Oct What are the most affordable areas around Cambridge? Our chartered surveyors take a look
It is not surprising to see that Cambridge tops the house prices rankings in the East England region. It is a very desirable place to live, with excellent career opportunities and a vibrant social scene. All types of houses are in demand, with houses for singles and couples particularly sought after. This pressure on the housing market is pushing prices up, leaving many people looking for more affordable alternatives outside the city.
Those wanting easy access to the city naturally look within the South Cambridgeshire region. Here, average prices for the region as a whole are a little lower than for Cambridge, but as always, it depends on location. According to Zoopla, average sold prices in Girton, Impington and Fulbourn – all within 20 minutes’ drive of Cambridge centre – are even higher than prices in Cambridge itself, reaching £588,702 in Impington. Those willing to go slightly further afield to Sawston, Waterbeach and Willingham will find average prices of approximately £350–£400K. Our building surveys in these villages are tailored to the age of the property, with houses from almost every period found in the region.
Cambourne is a great choice for people looking for more realistic prices, with an average sold price of £257,100 over the past year. It can take a while to get from there to Cambridge by car, but a lot of people cycle in as it is only 10 miles. Nearby St Neots is also readily accessible and a great choice for shopping and socialising, and the traffic is a lot quieter. Cambourne is a relatively new settlement (very new compared with Cambridge, which of course dates back to Roman times!), but with some houses now over 20 years old, we are frequently asked to carry out homebuyer surveys in Cambourne and its surrounds.
Speaking of St Neots, the Huntingdonshire district is a great place to live, with good connections to London and plenty of green, open spaces. Prices here are much more affordable, with an average of £340,114 for St Neots, £318,097 for Huntingdon and £303,447 for St Ives.
Further north, transport links might not be quite so good, but buyers can benefit from average house prices close to £250K in villages like Sawtry and Ramsey. Sawtry has a long and fascinating history, with evidence of settlements from 5000 years ago, and it is in the Domesday Book. Today, it is home to a number of listed buildings, as well as many newer houses, which have been built to house Sawtry’s growing population. Ramsey, on the other hand, has some heritage buildings remaining, but a series of fires in the 17th and 18th centuries destroyed many properties, and so most of the houses we survey in Ramsey are 19th century builds.
Those looking for a bargain in Huntingdonshire area advised to watch out for Hemingford Abbots. This is stunning and highly desirable village and it is always a pleasure to visit for a full building survey of one of the many 16th and 17th century cottages. It is, however, one of the most expensive places to live in the area, with average sold prices reaching an enormous £1,160,000 over the past year.
Travelling east from Cambridge offers more and more affordability, depending how far along the A14 you go. West Suffolk offers affordable house prices and fantastic towns. Newmarket, with an average price of £362,714, is just 14 miles from Cambridge, and offers traditional buildings, a vibrant market and, of course, racing! Further east, Bury St Edmunds is regularly voted one of the best places to live in the region and has a busy town centre surrounded by picturesque countryside. A property here cost an average of £338,623 over the past 12 months. For those looking for village life, we have carried out surveys of some stunning cottages in nearby Woolpit and some fantastic family detached family properties in Thurston.
Going further along the A14, prices lower further. Property values here decrease as you travel away from Bury St Edmunds, averaging £306,996 in Elmswell, £297,711 in Stowmarket, £257,013 in Needham Market, £281,646 in Great Blakenham and £277,152 in Bramford.
Ipswich is truly a great option for those looking for something more affordable, with average prices in the district standing at £235,907 in July 2022. This is around 7 times the average salary in the region. This sounds like a lot – and it is – but it is still a better house-price-to-salary-ratio than in the surrounding areas. We have recently surveyed a wide range of properties in Ipswich, from new builds in the Whitehouse and Castle Hill areas, to period properties near Christchurch Park and city centre 16th century listed homes. The variety there is fantastic, and any building surveyor in Ipswich will be kept on their toes!