Commute into London for an hour and save £380k

5 July 2014

Workers in the capital whose commute takes an hour are saving £380,000 on their house price on average compared to those living in central London.

While many commuters living in the South East and working in London pay as much as £5,000 a year to commute, they benefit from a house price that is 59% cheaper than one located close to the office in zones 1 or 2, according to Lloyds Bank.

House prices an hour's train journey away from London in the popular commuter towns of Crawley, Windsor, Brighton, Rochester, Peterborough and Oxford are, on average, around £260,000. Comparable properties in zone 1 or 2 can easily sell for £641,000, while in zones 3 to 6 they sell for just under £400,000.  

The cost of commuting between these commuter towns and London is on average £4,996 a year. Lloyds said this means a commuter would need to commute for 76 years for the total rail costs to wipe out the difference in house prices.

But for workers unable to stomach such a long commute, even a 30-minute journey to and from the office can bring about significant property savings.  

For example, the average house price in towns 30 minutes from the capital such as Beaconsfield, Woking, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Brentwood and Luton is £283,000. That's 56% lower than in zones 1 and 2. The average annual rail pass is cheaper too at £3,719.

Lloyds found that Reading is the most popular station for commuters outside London – home to 2.64 million of the capital's commuters in 2012/13. Half an hour away from London, the average house price is currently £290,358, which is half the average for zones 1 and 2.

Chelmsford is the next most popular commuter town, with an average property value of £260,852 and average journey time of between 25 and 40 minutes.

Quality of life

Marc Page, Lloyds Bank mortgages director, said: "It's no surprise, for London at least, that the further you commute, the more you save financially – even after travelling costs. However, quality of life is just as important a consideration for most and therefore trade-offs between type of property, schools, environment and time spent commuting all need to be weighed up carefully."

Commuter towns close to the UK's other major cities often experience the opposite trade off between commuting times and property prices. For example, the Solihull suburb is 96% more expensive than central Birmingham.

The average house price in Birmingham is around £140,000, whereas Solihull, just 15 minutes' rail journey away from the city centre, is £274,257. Meanwhile, Leamington Spa, which is also 30 minutes away, has an average house price of £253,855.  
In Manchester, the average house in the city is £134,873, while it is £192,172 in Stockport, which is 15 minutes away. Venture 30 minutes outside town and prices rise to £231,118 in Macclesfield, £173,581 in Warrington and £166,107 Chorley.

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