Berkshire’s property hotspot
Once better known for its beer, biscuit and bulb production, the commercial centre of Reading is today home to giants of industry including blue chip technology, accountancy and utility firms, with brands including Microsoft, KPMG and RSM UK basing their headquarters from here.
With commercial office space in Reading up to 55% less than average prime City of London rents and as much as 69% less than West End Rents, the logic for this strategic decision is impeccable. Reading’s superb connectivity – via road, its position along the M4 corridor provides easy access to London, the South and South West – not to mention several international airports; and via rail, its speedy service into London Paddington from 23 minutes plus the promise of Crossrail from 2019, brings the Capital closer to this Berkshire base and with it a highly skilled workforce seeking somewhere to live.
Steve Woodford, Managing Director of Reading agent, Haslams, says: “Reading continues to be the Capital of the Thames Valley with its Economy still thriving. We anticipate further growth in the market as the transport infrastructure continues to improve.
“We are particularly excited at the prospect of further ease of connection to London coming in 2019 with the opening of Crossrail’s western rail link and the proposal of a 3rd runway at Heathrow circa 2030.
“Reading and the surrounding areas continue to be a place to invest.”
Enter developer, Bewley Homes, the design led developer whose success is built on creating high quality homes in and around the Reading area. Elaine Stratford, Sales and Marketing Director at Bewley Homes, says: “Several of our most exciting and dynamic sites can be found in Reading. They, rather like the area, have significantly evolved and improved with the years. We have come so far in terms of construction methods and in understanding the materials we use when we build homes, that new homes today differ inordinately from the new homes of twenty, thirty, forty and fifty years ago. As too does the design of our homes – in the 50s and 60s it was usual, if you had a bathroom inside the house at all, for it to be situated on the ground floor – often behind the kitchen. Whilst today, our homes have downstairs cloakrooms, they also have facilities upstairs, including more luxurious features such as en suites – and all indoors! By the 70s, only a quarter of all UK homes had central heating so the underfloor heating in vogue today would have seemed unfathomable then. Just as the giant advances in technology are almost impossible to comprehend to our new younger generation. Must have gadgets range from a Roberts Radio in the 60s; to microwave ovens and video cassette recorders in the 70s; to the CD player, camcorder and brick mobile phone in the 80s and a laptop in the 90s – none of us then could imagine that, into the 21st century, there would be a ‘smart’ device which could handle photos, video, music and telephone calls in one, just as none of the present younger generation can imagine a time when there wasn’t!
The internet and advances in social media have dynamically altered the way in which individuals search for, and find, homes and, within an alarmingly short period of time. As these technologies have advanced, the way in which we market property has also had to evolve and today, if we get a buyer on site, we know we must regard it as their third or fourth viewing.
This exciting commercial environment marries with the excitement Bewley has for its developments in and around the Reading area. Without doubt, the contemporary urban development of Reading Gateway – right on the periphery of the town and only 3.5 miles from the cosmopolitan centre, is one of their success stories. Once complete, a total of 123 homes will have been built here, ranging from 1 and 2 bedroom apartments to 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses, showing the diversity of property type and size on offer and appealing to a wide breadth of buyer. Irrespective of whether you are a first time buyer, investor, young family, older family or downsizer, you will be able to find something at Reading Gateway to accommodate your housing needs and budget.
Not far from here, at Bewley’s Loddon Oak development in the leafy residential suburbs of Spencers Wood, the developer has created a niche bijou development of just 32 three and four bedroom family homes. Quality shines through each and every one of these houses with superior features including Roca bathrooms and under floor heating throughout the ground floor but still with the amenities and transport facilities of central Reading close at hand.
Elaine continues: “We know Berkshire has the largest cluster of digital businesses outside London, accounting for around 6% of the British tech economy. Those who work within this sector are bright, modern, highly skilled and educated individuals and the homes they aspire to own need both to fulfil their day to day needs as well as to reflect this entrepreneurial spirit. At Bewley Homes, this is what we aspire to do. We want to provide each and every one of our buyers with a home which fits these criteria, creating property which is beautifully crafted with a foundation in traditional values but made to exceed the expectations of a very discerning, contemporary and bold, modern society.”