Property prices are about 60 percent lower than London in towns such as Crawley, Windsor, Rochester, Peterborough, and Oxford, with average house prices of around £316,000.In comparison, the average cost of a home in London travel Zones 1 and 2 has reached almost £800,000, according to the report by Lloyds Bank.
Wellingborough in Northamptonshire emerges from the study as the least expensive commuter town with an average property price of around £197,000, followed by Kettering, also in Northamptonshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, a close third.
Of course, property prices can’t be the only financial consideration when considering a move outside of London. The current annual rail pass for commuters traveling for 60-minutes costs an eye-watering £5,169 on average, but if the sums stack up, you could buy 93 years worth of travel with the average savings made on the property.
THE CHEAPEST COMMUTER TOWNS WITHIN AN HOUR’S COMMUTE OF LONDON
||Average house price (July 2017)
||Fastest train to central London
Source: Lloyds Bank, Land Registry, ONS
TOWNS WITHIN A 40-MINUTE COMMUTE OF LONDON
If an hour-long commute sounds too much, there can also big savings to be made on 40 and 20-minute journeys, the research from Lloyds Bank reveals.
Homes in towns such as Hatfield, Billericay, Orpington and Reading cost just under £425,000 on average, which is almost half the cost of central London prices. An annual rail pass costs around £3,615 for a 40-minute commute. Even traveling just 20-minutes can save homebuyers almost £300,000, with rail passes from towns such as Ilford and Elstree costing £2,481 a year.
The distance between a potential new home and the office is a key factor for many house hunters, but Andrew Mason, mortgage product director at Lloyds Bank, believes commuting is an option worthy of serious consideration.
Not only do you get more house for your buck outside of central London, but commuters living in the 10 most affordable commuter towns are earning over £9,000 more per year on average than they would be in their place of residence.
“Commuting to London is a smart move for those wishing to benefit from the higher wages on offer while buying a cheaper and typically larger home,” he said.
THE TOWNS WHERE IT DOESN’T PAY TO COMMUTE
There are, however, a handful of commuter towns that command higher house prices than central London. Homes in Beaconsfield, for example, cost an average of £1,054,000, with Gerrards Cross (£903,000), Ascot (£824,000) and Weybridge (£822,000) also more expensive.
Commuting to other major UK cities is unlikely to be cost-effective.
Homes in the second biggest city of Birmingham cost £182,000 on average, yet the towns of Derby, Coventry, Burton on Trent and Leamington Spa - all roughly 40 minutes away by train – command significantly higher average house prices of £225,000.
The situation is similar in the third largest city of Manchester, where the average house costs £175,000. Go house hunting in the nearby towns of Macclesfield, Chorley, Warrington, however, and you can expect to find higher average house prices of £216,000.