|Homes sold in the last 12 months||374||324||324||232|
|Average house prices||£215,569||£355,551||£639,337||£277,276|
Once part of the ancient forest of Essex, affluent Brentwood is just 20 miles north-east of London and located near the M25, yet it is surrounded by woodland and countryside. This allows the town to offer residents the best of all possible worlds and a high quality of life, particularly for families.
The local economy is thriving, with several major businesses having made the town their home, including Lord Sugar's Amstrad and the Ford Motor Company. And, despite its modern feel, Brentwood has a rich history dating back to Saxon times.
Property in Brentwood includes a significant proportion of large detached houses, and a high percentage, nearly 80%, of owner occupation. Many properties have period features. However, town-centre semis or terraces are also popular, and there are flats available, too.
You can reach London by rail in around half an hour, and there are good local bus services. The M25 is just two miles to the southwest, and the A12 trunk road also connects to the town in the north.
But Crossrail, which will provide a fast link between Brentwood, the capital, Heathrow and beyond, is the word on everyone's lips. It is bringing real investment to the area, and causing locals to feel genuinely optimistic about the value of their properties.
The town centre, which has had a £7m revamp, is great for shopping, with niche boutiques and bistros side by side with familiar High Street names.
Well-known Brentwood School counts Frank Lampard and Jack Straw among its alumni, while there are many other excellent schools in the area.
Brentwood Theatre and The Hermitage in the town centre are the area's main cultural buildings. The 176-seat theatre serves more than 40 amateur performing arts groups, while The Hermitage is home to a youth service offering a cafe, a youth club, and a live music venue.
There are plenty of open spaces in the area, including Shenfield Common, King George V Playing Field as well as 2 country parks located at South Weald and Thorndon, along with two sports centres. There's even a local ski centre you can slope off to!
As if all that wasn't enough, the 2012 Olympic site at Stratford is just 15 minutes away.
Brentwood's importance as a coaching station on the road from London is still evident in the large number of pubs and inns dating back to the 16th century and beyond.
History buffs will also love Brentwood Museum, which is housed in a sexton's cottage on a nature reserve. Meanwhile, 16th century Ingatestone Hall has a fascinating past and is open for tours, as well as being used for performances and events.
With everything on offer you could possibly want from a town and a lot more besides, Brentwood has firmly shaken off its past image as a "boring" town to become a place on the rise.
Source acknowledgement: House price data produced by Land Registry
This material was last updated on 29 January 2015. It covers the period from 03 January 1995 to 31 December 2014.
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