South East Property Buying Guide

About the South East

The South East is the third-largest region in England, home to over eight million residents across nine counties: Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey and West Sussex.


With a varied landscape, South East England encompasses a wide area from the industrial ports of Southampton and Portsmouth to the market towns of Guildford and Reading. The region also boasts two National Parks: New Forest and South Downs.


If you’re a first-time buyer in the South East, we have various schemes available as well as plenty of tips in our home buying guide. If you’re looking to invest in a buy-to-let property instead, browse our competitive mortgage options. 


South East property market prices & trends

The Office for National Statistics reported a rise of just under 10% in the 12 months leading up to December 2022.

The South East’s property market reflected this trend, with average prices up by 13% between 2020 and 2023. Terraced houses were the most popular, while city-centre flats saw a drop in interest. East Sussex recorded the sharpest growth in property prices, up 16% from 2020 to 2023, followed by Buckinghamshire’s 15% growth and Kent’s 14%.

Although house values in the South East are the second-highest in the UK behind Greater London, there are many opportunities to buy or invest in a property here. Enjoy exploring Surrey Hills or South Downs National Park or unwind on the beach in Brighton or Worthing when you live in this region.

If you’d like to know more about the South East, read on as we highlight some of the best investment areas.

Best investment areas in the South East

Despite house prices being above the national figure, there are plenty of investment areas in the South East where you could enjoy value for money.

One of these is Bracknell in Berkshire, popular with commuters for its proximity to London, just an hour away by rail. This thriving town is fast growing in the tech industry. Bracknell’s development is still in its early stages but is expected to flourish rapidly, with house prices up 9% from 2020.

Another city to look out for is Chichester, at the foot of the South Downs National Park. House prices rose by 8% between 2020 and 2023, with flats the best-selling among buyers. Surrounded by fishing villages, countryside and the coast a few miles away, it’s no wonder the city has gained popularity.

Oxford is a hotspot for investors and first-time buyers. Its world-renowned university attracts millions of visitors yearly, contributing to increased property value, with prices rising by 10% between 2020 and 2023.

Most sought-after property areas in the South East

Farnham High street
Rolling hills, fairytale castles, spectacular coastline and centuries-old cities give the region a unique character. Below are some of the South East’s most sought-after areas to buy a property.


Voted one of the Best Places to Live in The UK by the Sunday Times in 2020, this desirable town on the Surrey-Hampshire border is an attractive place to buy a property. Farnham offers excellent transport links, great independent schools – eight are rated outstanding by Ofsted – and spectacular surrounding heathland.


Famous for its World Heritage cathedral, Canterbury is a picturesque city in Kent. Its charming lanes, riverside gardens and medieval ruins are just a few reasons the city is a destination of choice. Not only a showpiece of the past, but it also combines elements of modernity in a unique blend.


Cowes is a quaint seaport town on the Isle of Wight, the favourite holiday destination of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It remains a tourist hotspot today.

Best places to move with your family in the South East

If you and your family love nature in all its forms, the South East is the place to be. This region has spectacular countryside, from the North Downs and Chiltern Hills to the South Downs and the Thames Valley.


This desirable seaside town overlooks the English Channel, offering opportunities for day trips at the beach or promenades along the coast. Hastings is in East Sussex, with fascinating art galleries, museums and parks. Children love Hastings Aquarium, where they can meet underwater creatures.


Rich in history and royal traditions, Windsor is a beautiful place to live. Home to England’s largest castle and surrounded by the stunning Berkshire countryside, this part of the South East offers things to do for all ages.


Along the banks of the River Arun and the coast overlooking the English Channel, Littlehampton is a quaint town with plenty going for it. There are many ways to enjoy the seaside, from the pleasure harbour and attractions to pedalo and boat hire. While you’re there, why not take your kids to Harbour Park for an adventure?


Ofsted rankings of best schools in the South East

School Ofsted Rating Date of Inspection
Godalming College Good March 2022
St Dominic’s School Outstanding July 2022
Freemantles School Outstanding January 2022
Ash Grange Nursery and Primary School Good March 2020
Rodborough Secondary Good July 2022
Woking College Outstanding November 2022
Farncombe Church of England Infant School Good January 2023 
Kennet School Outstanding January 2023
New Forest School Outstanding October 2022
Ash Manor School Good January 2023

Best places to move to be close to nature in the South East

Thinking of relocating to a riverside property or dreaming of a house by the beach? The South East offers some of the most picturesque towns.


In the Hampshire countryside, a stone’s throw from the South Downs, Winchester boasts a rich history, from King Arthur and his round table to ancient mills and a majestic cathedral. Winchester recorded a 7% rise in house prices between 2020 and 2023. Homes here are popular thanks to their strategic location, which offers easy access to nature and nearby towns and cities.


Enjoy a slower pace of life in the seaside town of Eastbourne. Explore nearby beaches or drive to the stunning Seven Sisters Cliffs and the South Downs National Park.

Hayling Island

This idyllic island is close to Portsmouth and boasts numerous Blue Flag beaches. While it’s a popular location for watersports, Hayling Island is also the perfect place to enjoy countryside walks or cycling.

Buying in the South East’s towns & cities

outside view of kingsville, 3 bed house type, harbour place

The region’s proximity to London and motorway links have made South East England a prosperous economic hub. The area boasts the best economy in the UK after London, also reflected in the property market.

Transport here is highly efficient. The main road links are the M1 through Buckinghamshire, the M40 through Oxford and the M4 through Berkshire. The A34 connects north to south, while the A27 runs east to west.

The Great Western Main Line is the primary connection in the region, along with the South Eastern Main Line and High Speed 1. The area is also home to Gatwick International Airport and close to Heathrow.

But the South East of England is not only known for its excellent transport links. The region hosts some of the most beautiful nature spots in the UK, including the North Downs, Surrey Hills and Chiltern Hills.

The region also has the highest number of secondary schools and sixth forms after London. Buckinghamshire boasts the best GCSE results across the UK. University education is also excellent, with institutions like Oxford University, the University of Southampton and the University of Surrey.

Buying your home in Southampton

Southampton boasts a rich maritime heritage, great art galleries, museums and local activities to suit all ages. House prices rose by just under 10% between 2020 and 2023.


If you prefer the pull of the suburbs to the city centre, homes in Bedhampton could be for you. Around 20 miles east of Southampton, this pleasant suburb in Hampshire offers beautiful coastal views and exciting local amenities.

Buying your home in Portsmouth

Also known as the Great Waterfront City, Portsmouth is a thriving destination with plenty to attract buyers. From the Southsea Castle and the Spinnaker Tower to exploring the historic dockyard, this place is rich in history and culture. The property market surged between 2020 and 2023, with house prices rising by 14%.


Close to Portsmouth City Centre, homes in Waterlooville are popular thanks to their midway position between the coast and the South Downs National Park. They also lie within commuting distance of Southampton and Chichester and offer superb access to Chichester Harbour. Waterlooville’s property market experienced a house price increase of 12% between 2020 and 2023.

Buying your home in Brighton

Quirky and bohemian Brighton is a destination of choice among many; the seaside resort is among the most vibrant cities in the UK. House prices in Brighton rose by over 14% between 2020 and 2023. Whether strolling along the pier or relaxing in St Anne’s Well Gardens, this city is a brilliant place to call home.


Another spot with a prime seaside location, Peacehaven, is just over five miles along the coast from Brighton. The increase in property prices outstrips its neighbour, with a 20% rise between 2020 and 2023.

Woburn Downs Barratt

Buying your home in Reading

Visit the Reading Museum, explore the Abbey or stroll along the River Thames’ banks to enjoy this city's diverse landscapes and culture. Reading is also ideal for commuters thanks to the excellent transport links while lying a stone’s throw from the North Wessex Downs. Houses prices in the city have increased by slightly over 10% between 2020 and 2023.


Close to the borders with Surrey, Aldershot provides excellent access to Surrey Hills, the South Downs National Park and Farnham, Guildford and Woking. House prices increased by 7% between 2020 and 2023.

Buying your home in Milton Keynes

Homes in Milton Keynes are popular thanks to their proximity to London, Northampton and Watford. Packed with fascinating attractions, from Gulliver’s Land Theme Park to Bletchley Park, this city experienced a 7% rise in property prices between 2020 and 2023. Detached properties were the most popular.

Buying your home in Slough

Boosted by regeneration and growing demand from the capital, houses in Slough have increased in popularity. The city is an established London commuter town within Reading and Watford’s reach; thanks to its position and property affordability, it represents an excellent opportunity for investors. Average house prices rose 6% between 2020 and 2023, with terraced houses selling best.

Our Offers to Help Get You Moving

Help to Sell Schemes

We have a range of schemes to help you sell your existing home.


Low Deposit Schemes

If you have a low deposit, we have a variety of schemes to help make moving more affordable.


Own New - Rate Reducer

Own New - Rate Reducer is a brand-new scheme available on new build homes that could mean lower mortgage rates and reduced monthly payments.

Key Worker Scheme

We could help make your move with our Key Worker Deposit Contribution Scheme.


Parent Power

If you’re getting financial support from your family or friends to help you get on the property ladder, we could match it, up to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price.



Part Exchange

We could be your guaranteed buyer, so no stress or fuss, just an easy move for you and your family.