The reason behind this market buoyancy, even during a wider downturn, is the town’s remarkable attractiveness and its proximity to central London, some 35 miles away. The town has four large, well-maintained parks; its streets are quiet on weekdays as most Tunbridge Wells homes have at least one member commuting to London; and it is very well-preserved with crescents rivalling Bath Spa for Regency splendour and many streets with Victorian and Edwardian houses still displaying wrought-iron fencing and balconies.
Most people moving in are therefore affluent and their reasons for choosing Tunbridge Wells Homes – the “Royal” is dropped by locals, even in this diamond jubilee year – are familiar enough across south-east England. They seek more green space than is available in London suburbs, along with good commutability and access to respected private or state schools. Buyers can purchase in the town itself or choose from several sought-after villages within a few miles’ radius.
This is England as many like to think of it, creating a fondness for the town among traditionalists and earning it a reputation as a bastion of conservatism. Its genteel manners and nostalgic feel certainly add cachet to the housing market.
“We find buyers of top-end houses almost invariably move here from London, often from places like Belsize Park or Hampstead Heath where they’ve had a touch of countryside and open space but now want more,” says Anji Perkins of Pavilion Relocation, a Tunbridge Wells Homes buying agency based in Tunbridge Wells.”