For anyone looking to relocate, Reading’s not only a safe bet but an exciting one, too.
The excellent transport links are well documented, it’s home to a huge mix of businesses and is recognised as Europe’s second best city for tech start-ups, behind London.
Even Hollywood’s calling as new film and TV hub Shinfield Studios is set to open at the town’s Thames Valley Business Park later this year.
‘Reading has survived the pandemic well, has lots of job vacancies and housing choices,’ explains Nigel Horton-Baker, executive director of Reading UK.
‘It’s also surprisingly cultural, with museums, theatres and festivals. The Abbey celebrates its 900th anniversary this summer, and there are proposals to turn the listed former prison — where Oscar Wilde was an inmate — into an arts hub.’
What’s on the market in Reading?
Five thousand new homes are under construction or in the pipeline. Green Park Village, by St Edward, is a modern village of contemporary apartments and New England-style houses in a lakeside setting, ten minutes’ drive from the town centre.
It has a new primary school, and a station linking the development with Reading opens early in 2022. One-bed apartments start from £293,000 and three-bed houses from £523,000, greenparkvillage.co.uk.
Berkeley Homes’ central Huntley Wharf sits on the old Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory site overlooking the River Kennet. One and two-bed apartments are currently for sale, from £299,000 and £400,000 respectively, and the next collection, Discovery House South, is available on June 1.
It comprises 83 one, two and three-bed apartments and duplexes, most with outside space, and residents will have access to a concierge, gym and other amenities, from £310,000, huntleywharf.co.uk.
One and two-bed shared ownership homes are coming this summer from L&Q, starting at £70,625 for a 25 per cent share of £282,500, lqhomes.com/huntleywharf.
Near the forthcoming studios you’ll find Bellway’s Long Acre, comprising two, three and four-bed detached and semi-detached houses with open plan kitchen/dining rooms and French doors into their gardens.
Prices are from £425,000, and the housebuilder has several other local developments, including Renaissance, a collection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, from £222,000, bellway.co.uk
Launching on June 8, the Dukesbridge consists of studio, one and two-bed apartments a short walk from the station, from £215,000, via savills.co.uk.
And keep your eye out for Station Hill, a vast mixed-use, central scheme, which will including 1,300 homes, stationhill.co.uk.
What is the rental market like in Reading?
‘The lettings market is extremely busy. We are starting to see the return of corporate tenants. A typical two-bed, two-bath apartment in the town centre would rent for £1,300+ pcm,’ says James Hathaway, director at Winkworth in Reading.
How hard is it to buy in Reading?
Options for buyers include town centre apartments — convenient for commuting — Victorian terraces, big houses in Caversham Heights and an assortment of new-build schemes.
‘The market’s very active, particularly sub- £500,000 because of the stamp duty holiday, Help to Buy and first-time buyers taking advantage of the new 95% mortgages,’ says Steve Woodford of Haslams.
‘Some have been able to bring their timescale forward as they’ve saved more than expected during the lockdowns, and there’s greater emphasis on outside space — they’re after apartments with balconies or ground floor gardens. We’re seeing more families moving out for the extra space, too. Demand exceeds supply but it’s still possible to find a home for under £200,000.’
Reading’s vital statistics
Council tax: (Band D) £2,076.83
Commuting time: From 23 mins to Paddington; Crossrail will be a game-changer, running through the West End to the City and beyond
Annual season ticket: £5,768
Amenities: ★★★★☆ Shopping at The Oracle; The Hexagon and new Reading Rep theatres; Reading Festival in August Open space: hhhhi Cintra Park; Prospect Park; Clayfield Copse and Blackhouse Woods; Balmore Walk; Thames Path
Schools: ★★★★☆ Most state primaries and secondaries are outstanding or good; GCSE and A-level results above average
Crime: ★★★★☆ Below average
Who lives there? First-time buyers and families
Famous faces: Kate Winslet and Ricky Gervais grew up in Reading
Schools and profiles supplied by Zoopla.co.uk
Can I get on the property ladder in Reading?
A two-bed, two-bath top floor flat in a low-rise gated development on the outskirts of the town centre. Has a large L-shaped sitting room, allocated parking as well as well-kept communal gardens.
Average for Reading
Beautifully renovated, this town centre end-of-terrace house features a combined kitchen/living/dining area, two double bedrooms with Japanese sliding doors, a bathroom, open loft room and courtyard garden.
The average property in Reading is currently valued at £406,498, according to Zoopla.co.uk.
£1.5million, Farmer & Dyer
This substantial five-bed house is located in desirable Caversham Heights and enjoys far-reaching views across the Thames. Includes a large kitchen diner, a games room and raised and covered terraces.
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