Londoners are packing their bags for pastures new in one of Kent’s most desirable towns to live in right now.
Kent, along with Surrey and Hertfordshire, has seen an influx in Londoners due to an increase in house prices in the capital and flexible working as a result of the pandemic.
Those aged between 30 and 39 were the highest group of Londoners to start a new life elsewhere, with nearly 40,000 people in their 30s leaving the capital in 2020, according to a study by Trust for London.
READ MORE: The pretty commuter town 70 minutes from London where homes cost £296k named one of best places in UK to move to
A portion of those would have swapped city living for a new life in Sittingbourne, Kent.
From June to August this year, the area around Sittingbourne railway station saw a 47% increase in buyer searches for homes, according to Rightmove.
The station is one of the top ten areas for commuters to move to, and was in third place after Chelmsford station and Liverpool Lime Street station.
It’s no wonder Sittingbourne has seen a huge jump in buyer searches – the train station is less than an hour’s commute into London Victoria thanks to highspeed trains.
Despite not winning first place in Rightmove’s survey, this hasn’t stopped house prices increasing in Sittingbourne by £5,993, according to Zoopla – no doubt influenced by the large crowds of Londoners moving in.
Zoopla found that the average price paid for property stands at £312,930 this month, a 1.97% increase since September 2021.
The real estate company currently estimates that flats are sold in Sittingbourne for an average of £163,503 and terraced houses for £238,509.
Get the latest London news straight on your phone without having to open your browser – and get all the latest breaking news as notifications on your screen.
The MyLondon app gives you all the stories you need to help you keep on top of what’s happening in the best city ever.
You can download it on Android here and Apple here.
Sittingbourne has been dubbed a beautiful up-and-coming tourist destination online, and was praised by a local estate agent for being of better value than popular Kent spots such as Canterbury and Whitstable.
Real estate agency Harrisons Homes said: “Despite Sittingbourne’s speedy links to London, property prices are still very competitive.
“In fact, the town proves better value than other Kent hotspots like Canterbury or Whitstable, with many families choosing to move to Sittingbourne and its surrounding villages from London and North Kent.”
Though there’s historical evidence that Sittingbourne was inhabited before 2000 BC, the town really came into its own during the 19th century after it became an essential hub for producing bricks from local clay during the industrial revolution.
The town has grown in population since then, and has a diverse mix of both Victorian houses from the past, and brand new residential developments.
There is also a bunch of great places to explore.
Take the Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway for instance; it’s a great opportunity to learn about the town’s history, as well as a great chance to ride on the diesel and steam trains.
A visitor loved it so much they said it was just as good as the heritage steam trains you can find in Wales.
They wrote on TripAdvisor: “This treasure is like Kent’s version of the Welsh narrow gauge railways.”
Other brilliant places to explore include Bax Farm Fishery, “a beautiful place to see fish” where people frequently catch carp, chub, tench, bream and roach.
Even if you’re just visiting for a day, there’s plenty of restaurants to dine in that are all rated five stars online.
Coming out top include the authentic Italian Amalfi Restaurant and traditional curry house Anuka Cuisine.
It’s no wonder it’s earned the prize for being one of the best commuter hotspots into London.
Do you have a story we should be covering? Get in touch with Ruby at [email protected]
For the latest news from across the capital, head to our homepage.