Why up and coming Crawley is popular with families and first-time buyers

Crawley is cheaper than other similar towns close to London (Picture: Getty)

With a fast commute into London, friendly faces, sensibly-priced houses, and proximity to Gatwick Airport, the West Sussex town of Crawley is flying high.

Crawley’s unofficial ambassador is Romesh Ranganathan who has decided to keep it real and stay in Crawley, the town where he grew up, went to school and taught maths before finding fame. He often talks about it, throwing the spotlight on a place that’s sometimes derided but has much to recommend it.

Transport links are fantastic – it’s close to Gatwick airport and the M23, just over half an hour from the coast at Brighton, and has fast trains into London.

It also has good schools, a welcoming, multi-cultural community and reasonably priced properties. As a designated post-war New Town, Crawley’s population grew rapidly during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. The majority of housing was built during this period and the typical home has three bedrooms and is on a cul-de-sac.

‘This is a well-serviced town and much more affordable than Tunbridge Wells or Sevenoaks,’ says Victoria Cook of local estate agency King & Chasemore. ‘One-bedroom flats in the town start from £225,000 and three-bed terraces from £330,000.

‘We get a lot of young families as it’s child-friendly, with Gatwick being a big pull.’

What’s new

Bellway has recently launched Riverbrook Place, a mix of 111 one and two-bedroom flats, and two, three and four-bedroom houses in Forge Wood, Crawley’s newest neighbourhood north-east of the town centre.

Prices at Riverbrook Place start at £239,500 for a flat (Picture: Supplied)

A couple of show homes will open their doors this Saturday, and the first homes are expected to be ready this spring. Flats are from £239,500 and houses from £375,000 from Bellway.

Those who’d prefer to live more centrally should try Zurich House, where a couple of two-bed flats remain. From £260,000, via Connells.

The newly-built Zurich House (Picture: Supplied)

Kilnwood Vale, in Faygate on the western edge of Crawley, will be a neighbourhood of around 2,500 homes, plus shops, a school, improved access to main roads and 140 acres of green space. The current phase, Harpers View at Kilnwood Vale, consists of two, three and four-bedroom houses, all traditionally designed to reflect the local architecture. They start from £374,950 via Crest Nicholson.

Traditionally-designed houses in Harpers View (Picture: Supplied)

Woodgate, a joint venture between Thakeham and Abri, is a new village community of one to five-bedroom homes in Pease Pottage, just south of Crawley. The latest phases are Waterside Edge, comprising flats and houses with waterside views, and The Villas on the Green, a collection of light-filled, Nordic-style four-bedder. From £295,000 for a one-bedroom flat and from £435,000 for a two-bedroom house via Woodgate.



Crawley’s vital statistics

Average house price: £365,709

Average rent: £1,451 pcm

Council tax (Band D): £1,999.44

Commuting time to Zone 1: From 34 mins from Three Bridges to London Bridge; 38 mins to Victoria (rush hour only)

Annual season ticket: From £3,900

Amenities: Asda Superstore, Tesco Extra, Sainsbury’s, Lidl; County Mall, a shopping centre; County Oak retail park just north of the town; Crawley Leisure Park; The Hawth for theatre, music, comedy and dance; K2 leisure centre; Crawley Museum

Open space: Goff’s Park; Tilgate Park and nature reserve; Worth Park; Bewbush Water Gardens; Buchan Country Park

Schools: Bulk of local schools rated good by Ofsted.

Crime: About average

Who lives there? First-time buyers and young families

Schools, crime and house data supplied by zoopla.co.uk

Property ladder

£160,000

First rung – a generously-sized two-bed flat (Picture: Supplied)

A second-floor flat in a purpose-built block on Crawley High Street. Comprises a generously sized living room/kitchen, a double bedroom with a built-in wardrobe and a bathroom, via Fox & Sons.

£350,000

A step up – potential for growth (Picture: Supplied)

This three-bedroom house has a lovely open plan kitchen/living/dining room, a flexible room ideal for use as a study, playroom or fourth bedroom, and a south-facing garden, via King & Chasemore.

£1.25 million

Top rung – a grade II-listed abode (Picture: Supplied)

Located on the town’s semi-rural outskirts, this substantial Grade II listed house includes six bedrooms, three bathrooms, an inglenook fireplace and exposed beams throughout, via Connells.


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