With the new year bringing fresh rail fare increases for commuters, online mortgage broker Trussle has revealed the UK’s most affordable commuter towns – which could be appealing to investors looking for a bargain in a competitive marketplace.
Last Thursday (January 2), the average 2.7% rise in rail fares was introduced, with millions of commuters now facing higher costs. The increase will push annual season tickets up by more than £280 for those commuting from the outer fringes of London’s commuter belt.
In light of this, Trussle analysed house prices, mortgage payments, rail season tickets and peak commuting times across more than 350 towns within a 75-minute direct rail journey of central London. These findings were used to produce a list of the ten best value commuting towns and the ten least affordable locations.
The area around Gatwick Airport was identified as 2020’s most affordable London commuter town, with homes here currently valued at an average of £172,148, nearly £300,000 below the average London house price of £472,000.
Although aircraft noise may be an issue, the excellent transport links on offer mean a round-trip commute to central London of just 70 minutes at peak times. An annual season ticket now costs £3,336, which means a total monthly mortgage and travel cost of just £830.29.
For those less enamoured with living so close to an international airport, the riverside Essex town of Tilbury – famous for its docks - may appeal. With an average house price of £243,714, a round-trip commute to central London of 82 minutes, and an annual season ticket cost of £2,516 – the total monthly cost works out at £991.56.
By contrast, the most expensive commuter town is the Surrey town of Oxshott, which is popular amongst Premier League footballers. A round-trip commute of just 70 minutes and an annual season ticket cost of £2,552 helps to explain the area’s popularity, but an average property price of £1.92 million gives a more unaffordable total monthly cost of £6,375.
Meanwhile, commuters living in the market town of Chippenham face the most expensive annual season ticket of £10,312 – alongside a total round-trip commute of 122 minutes. With average house prices of £346,927 in the large Wiltshire market town, commuters face a total travel and mortgage monthly cost of £1,972.
Those living in Swindon face a 99-minute round trip commute and pay £772.67 per month for an annual rail season ticket, just £65 less than the town’s average monthly mortgage payment of £838 – based on the average house price of £261,262. This equates to a total monthly cost of £1,610.
“While many may choose to live outside London for a better quality of life, others look to the commuter belt to get more for their money,” Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle, said.
“The reality is that despite the slowdown in the capital’s house prices, buying the perfect home in London is out of reach for many. However, for those considering moving out of London, it’s crucial that they take into account the cost of getting into the city for work.”
He added: “With some annual season tickets costing more than £10,000 – it’s worth doing proper research to see both how long the commute is and how much it will cost.”