Sometimes when a place to live surges in popularity it’s because it’s attracted the attention of wealthier metropolitans, the famous DFLs (Down-from-London)
With Uckfield it’s different – many of the town’s new arrivals are coming from just a short distance away.
Julian Vince, director of Vince Taylor Tofts estate agents says: “The most active area of the market right now is first-time buyers and most of them are local-ish – from within Sussex. We are seeing people move in from Lewes, Brighton and Hove for instance and I think it’s because we’ve got better value here.
“Uckfield’s quite a vibrant, little place – for a smaller town there’s lots going on. There’s a bustling high street with lots of independent shops, a good range of bars and restaurants, a cinema – quite unusual for a smaller town. And there’s a rail link to London of course. There’s also an industrial estate with quite a flourishing range of businesses. There are jobs here – we’re not a dormitory town like some others nearby.”
For people looking at a first house, there’s an obvious first place to look says Julian: “The traditional first-time buyer’s spot is Manor Park, an estate built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There are 1,100 houses there, a mixture of mainly terraces and some semis, either 2 or 3 bedrooms.
“The cost will depend on their condition – probably around £230,000 for a house which needs everything doing to it, up towards £300,000 for a really smart one where everything is already looked after. Some people enjoy a fixer-upper of course, if they want to install their own kitchen, bathroom.”
Currently on offer with Rowland Gorringe, is an extended two-bedroom end of terrace house here for an asking price of £280,000.
There are also more modern developments in Uckfield where houses start at around £275,000 and if a period property is your must-have then the Framfield Road area of town is mainly Victorian terraces which range from £230,000 to around £295,000 depending on layout and condition. At the time of writing, Vince Taylor Tofts are marketing this three-bedroom Victorian cottage in a quiet road for £295,000.
And the town is still growing – there’s a new development, Ridgewood Place, which will add 1,000 more properties to the south of Uckfield.
But what if your budget won’t extend to any of these?
“Uckfield doesn’t have masses of flats” says Julian, “But we’ve sold a selection of them in the last 12-18 months. Just last year we sold six new flats in a conversion right in the centre of town: they cost between £165,000 and £185,000 because they were all slightly different shapes and sizes, and that’s fairly typical for a one-bedroom flat, though you might find some a little cheaper, starting at £150,000.
“Two-bed flats might start at around £175,000 and go as high as £225,000 – we recently sold three or four purpose-built flats for £220,000.”
At the time of writing, Freeman Forman have a split-floor one bedroom flat with shower room on offer at £160,000.
It’s all part of the growing interest in the town from people looking for their first property.
Julian Vince said: “Three or four years ago most of these flats would have gone to investors – today most are going to first-time buyers.”
Some of the estate agents covering Uckfield