Throughout 2011 we have witnessed an influx of expat clients looking to move back to the UK and without exception they have identified Kent, and more specifically the area between Sevenoaks and Royal Tunbridge Wells, as their ideal location.
Is this a coincidence or trend? Our clients have been returning back to the UK from various parts of the world including; South Africa, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Portugal and Bermuda, and given this pattern of demand has been evident throughout 2011 we believe that this is a trend more than a coincidence.
Upon comparing expat clients’ searches, it has become clear that there are some common traits in their motives and criteria. Children are the primary factor in making the decision to return home, and more specifically a desire for their children to have a stable English education. The expat lifestyle can mean relocating every few years, proving disruptive and often resulting in changing curriculum altogether.
What is drawing clients to Kent? The area benefits from a particularly good selection of both state and private schools, with many specialising in foreign languages, such as Mandarin (useful if your children have spent the first 5 years of their lives in the Far East). Schooling aside, another benefit Kent has to offer is a fast and frequent train service for the commute into the City, essential when the vast majority of these expats work in the banking and finance sectors.
The area is well placed for national and international travel, with Gatwick and Heathrow Airports within easy reach, allowing frequent visits to friends made around the world. Driving to the continent is made easier with the Channel Tunnel being less than an hour’s drive away, making this one of the most accessible areas of the UK to move in and out of.
The area has a range of architectural styles to offer, but is most well known for the Georgian properties that are widespread in the spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, which are always highly sought after by families for their space, high ceilings and town location.
With both London and the countryside on its doorstep, the area allows for a cosmopolitan lifestyle shared between city, town and country scoring it highly in Halifax’s Quality of Life Survey, with Sevenoaks ranked at number 4 in 2010. All of this in an area labelled ‘The Garden of England’, with lovely rolling countryside dotted with pretty villages, it’s no wonder the expats are flocking back here.