Who’d be a commuter? Anyone who wants to be financially better off and live in the type of house they are unlikely to be able to afford to buy in London. That’s the conclusion reached by a recent study conducted by Lloyds Bank and reported by the website Best Advice on the 30th of October 2017.
And that means substantially better off. According to the report, commuters who accept a train journey of around an hour each way every day, stand to be as much as nearly £481,000 in pocket. That is the difference between average prices of houses near to central London and those just an hour away – in commuter-belt towns such as Crawley, Oxford, Peterborough, Rochester and Windsor.
Lower average house prices also make life in the commuter-belt significantly cheaper than in parts of Greater London.
As a general rule …
As a general rule, the longer your commute the greater the savings you are likely to make on house prices.
For the examples already given, the savings might be near to £481,000, but if you want to shave 20 minutes off your travelling time – for a commute of just 40 minutes – you might still save up to an average of £372,255 on central London prices by instead living in places such as Billericay, Hatfield, Orpington or Reading.
Even if you choose a commuting time of just 20 minutes – from towns such as Elstree or Ilford – average house prices are still some £299,328 cheaper than in central London.
… but there are exceptions
Before getting too carried away with the idea that the longer you spend on the train, the cheaper your housing, it is important to remember that there are exceptions to the rule.
Some especially sought-after parts of the commuter belt have higher average house prices than those even in central London.
If you choose to live in Beaconsfield, for example, you must expect to pay an average £1,054,215 for your home – some £257,057 more than the central London average of £797,158. Other hotspots, where you may expect to pay more for your daily commute include Gerrards Cross, where average house prices are £903,142, Ascot (£824,421), Weybridge (£822,672) and Wimbledon, (£807,574).
And London is the exception
The rules are turned completely on their head once you move away from London.
If you work in one of the UK’s other large cities – such as Manchester or Birmingham, for example – you are likely to pay more in terms of housing for the dubious privilege of commuting.
A 40-minute commute into central Manchester, for example, from towns such as Chorley, Macclesfield or Warrington, might mean that you have to pay an average of £42,000 more for your home than if you lived in the centre of the city.
It is a similar picture for those who work in Birmingham. Live in the city, and you may expect to pay an average of just £181,758 for your home. Move outside the city to towns such as Burton on Trent, Coventry, Derby or Leamington – a daily 40-minute commute – and you need to pay an average of £225,353, some £43,595 more.