The lively city of Cambridge is home to many of East Anglia's most expensive and sought-after residential streets and, for first-time buyers on a tight budget, affordable homes can be difficult to find.
Property experts Hometrack have found that Cambridge suffered a 20% reduction in property sales in 2015, with a shortage of properties (re-sale and new build) being blamed for that figure. It was the largest reduction of the UK’s top 20 cities. At the same time, demand led to an average price hike of 13.9% in the city last year.
Even in other parts of the region many current new developments only have executive-level properties available, falling into higher price bands.
We have taken a look at a selection of new developments in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, in both rural and urban areas, as a starting point for those house-hunting in East Anglia.
Predictably, the brand new homes we feature in Cambridge are only accessible to buyers with a healthy budget – although some, such as Summers Field, are due to have smaller, lower-priced properties available soon, and there also are some slightly less expensive options available in other parts of the region.
Grand Central in Cambridge (Weston Homes)
The final few plots now remain at Grand Central, a prestigious development of 143 apartments, duplexes and houses set in Cambridge. Offering plenty of living space, many of the properties also have outdoor terraces, while the houses have private gardens.
Cambridge Leisure Park is just a few minutes' walk from Grand Central, offering a good choice of restaurants, a cocktail bar, two supermarkets, tenpin bowling, a contemporary arts venue, a cinema complex, and a modern gym incorporating world-class fitness equipment. Cambridge city centre itself is a popular shopping destination, and also offers a thriving cultural scene with galleries, museums and music venues as well as quiet places nearby to walk, cycle or go boating.
When it comes to transport, Cambridge railway station is less than a mile from Grand Central, with direct trains running at least every 20 minutes to London Liverpool Street, alongside frequent direct trains to London King's Cross, offering connections to the London Underground in less than an hour.
Prices: From £430,000
Find out more about Grand Central from Weston Homes
Bocking Riverside in Bocking, Essex (Bocking Riverside)
Situated under two miles from the market town of Braintree, Bocking Riverside offers rural living with a host of local amenities on your doorstep. The development will provide 20 new homes at this waterside setting in a village which boasts a school, pub, a village shop and good public transport links – as well as its own picturesque historic windmill!
Braintree has an abundance of restaurants, shops and nightlife options, with the landmark Freeport Braintree designer shopping outlet boasting over 85 stores. There is plenty of green space and countryside, such as the park in Great Notley and the Flitch Way.
The homes have an excellent standard specification which includes chic kitchens with a full complement of integrated appliances and quartz worktops, and Villeroy & Boch/Hansgrohe bathroom suites and fittings.
Prices: From £340,000
Find out more at bockingriverside.co.uk ; 01376 345575
Summers Field in Papworth Everard, Cambridgeshire (Barratt Homes)
Offering easy commutes to St Neots, Cambridge and London, this spacious development offers a sought-after village location that is conveniently close to all the facilities of Cambourne.
Ideal for commuters, the location also offers good local amenities just a stone's throw away, including a post office and convenience store, while there is a larger Morrisons supermarket in nearby Cambourne. The area is home to some good schools, and for leisure time there are many thriving towns nearby to explore, as well as vast swathes of rolling Cambridgeshire countryside.
Find out more about Summers Fields from Barratt Homes
The Arboretum in Haverhill, Suffolk (Taylor Wimpey)
Situated on the western fringe of the lively market town of Haverhill, under the village of Withersfield, The Arboretum incorporates a collection of contemporary one-, two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses in a peaceful yet convenient location.
Haverhill hosts weekly markets and offers plenty of shops and year-round entertainment, as well as facilities such as the leisure centre and a golf course. The town also offers easy access to Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Saffron Walden, while Stansted Airport is less than 25 miles away and London is also within easy reach via the M11.
The development's wide range of properties mean it will appeal to many different types of buyers, and for those with children the area caters well educationally for all ages, with numerous nursery, primary and secondary options spread across the town - including a new Montessori nursery next to the development.
Prices: From £229,995
Find out more at www.taylorwimpey.co.uk ; 01440 840336
Whittlesey Green in Whittlesey, Peterborough (Larkfleet Homes)
One of the housebuilder’s best-selling developments is open daily (10.00am to 5.00pm) to visitors who want to check out the mix of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes with solar panels fitted as standard.
Situated in Whittlesey, just outside of the vibrant and growing city of Peterborough, Whittlesey Green is perfectly placed both for first-time buyers and for families moving up the property ladder to enjoy shopping, arts and entertainment facilities. For those who prefer the outdoor lifestyle, the idyllic Fenland waterways, woodlands and wildlife conservations areas are just on hand.
The town of Whittlesey benefits from its own rail station which links directly with Ely and Peterborough and provides easy access to Cambridge, London and Stansted Airport. Road users are within easy reach of both the A47 and A1.
Prices: From £249,995
Find out more about Whittlesey Green from Larkfleet Homes
Round House Park in Cringleford, Norfolk (Kier Living)
Combining rural charm with the benefit of city life nearby in Norwich, Round House Park embraces village life with the creation of a village green as well as cycleways and walkways throughout the development's parkland. Offering a wide choice of house styles with three-, four- and five-bedroom options, the development will also provide a new school and additional community facilities.
All the homes are finished to a high specification, and have been designed to complement the existing local environment. The village of Cringleford is situated in a handy spot on the outskirts of Norwich, about five miles from the centre, and improved transport links such as the Norwich South Bypass have made it popular with commuters.
Prices: From £409,995
Find out more at www.kierliving.co.uk ; 01603 250210
Aura in Cambridge (Countryside Properties)
In Cambridge, this award-winning collection of homes offers contemporary living to suit a wide variety of buyers, incorporating well-proportioned one-bedroom apartments right through to large, executive five-bedroom villas.
Offering a very high specification as standard, these well-planned homes are situated on a desirable road that is bordered by mature woodland, and is within easy striking distance of Cambridge city centre.
Many of the homes available at Aura offer elevated outdoor spaces, whether in the form of balconies or spacious roof terraces, offering superb views over the rest of the development and the surrounding woodland.
Prices: From £715,000
Find out more at www.countryside-properties.com ; 01223 656167