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High flier: why the UK's 'worst place to live' is a good first-time buy

Evening Standard Homes & Property logoEvening Standard Homes & Property 12/03/2018 David Spittles

a large brick building © Provided by Independent Print Limited Luton was last year paradoxically voted both the best-value commuter destination and the worst place to live in the UK.

Okay, we admit it isn’t glamorous. Some people will remember the famous Campari television commercial featuring Lorraine Chase, a Cockney beauty sipping the drink in an exotic destination.

When asked by an upper-crust gent if she was truly wafted there from Paradise, she replies: “Nah, Luton Airport.”

However, with an average house price of £252,896 and 24-minute trains 24-hours a day to central London, plus good motorway connections, Luton is definitely one for first-time buyers — as well as pilots.


Town centre regeneration and an airport upgrade are under way, while housebuilders are busily hunting for sites.

Vauxhall Motors was Luton’s major employer until 2002 when the plant closed down, leaving 55 acres of land that has now become Napier Park, a new neighbourhood of homes, shops and parks.

Saxon Square is the latest phase, with 223 apartments priced from £190,000. This is 60 per cent less than the cost of the typical London home. And of course, stamp duty won’t apply for first timers. Call Redrow on 020 3553 9949.

a living room filled with furniture and a large window: smsaxonsquare2.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited smsaxonsquare2.jpg
From £190,000: apartments at Saxon Square are 60 per cent less than the cost of a typical London home

Churchill tanks were built at the Vauxhall factory during the Second World War, so Luton was a Luftwaffe target.

The town centre was badly hit but more than 50 listed buildings remain. Some later buildings are being redeveloped.

Carlton House is an office-to-residential conversion where flats start at £149,994. Call Galliard on 020 7620 1500.

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