With the increase in London house prices over the last year many first time buyers are looking further afield to try and find more affordable properties.
Places to live – Commuting to London
With the increase in London house prices over the last year many first time buyers are looking further afield to try and find more affordable properties. The popular commuter towns (below) are facing increasing competition and house prices in these regions have risen dramatically over the last 12 months. All is not lost however, there are still some great alternatives from lesser known commuter towns where you can still find good value for money.
- Most popular commute towns by % of commuting population.
Cirencester Area Situated on a tributary of the Thames, Cirencester is a pretty market town in East Gloucestershire. It’s not the closest town to London but with many Londoners spending over an hour every day on the tube, it does offer a viable option.
Almost all the buildings have been restored to their former glory and the numerous delis, cafes and boutique shops ensure the town center is a very nice place to spend your weekends and evenings. Sitting on the lower slopes of the Cotswold’s Cirencester is within easy reach of the most beautiful countryside in England.
Commute to London Located 93 miles north west of London the train takes 1hr 23mins from Kemble station to London Paddington.
Annual Season Ticket: £8,496
Property Prices Detached & Town Houses: £450k - £900k Semi-detached house: £170k - £300k Cottages & Terraced House: £160k - £290
Area A market town since medieval times Reigate is popular with commuters due to its close proximity to London. Located at the foot of the North Downs it’s surrounded by pretty countryside and the nearby towns of Betchworth, Brockham and Leigh are options for those looking for village life. Reigate has some great schools making it popular with young families and first time buyers but many of the primary schools have struggled in recent years to meet demand. Check out the schools and your catchment area before buying. The sometimes-confusing one-way system can also make congestion an issue for some. However it’s still much better than the north circular!
Commute to London 39 minutes to London Bridge 47 minutes to Victoria
House Prices 2 Bedroom Flat: £365k 3 Bedroom Semi-detached: £489,950
Annual Season Ticket: £2,612
Area Whitstable is a pretty seaside town on the Kent coast. With an active fishing port its has more of a traditional feel than many other seaside towns. If you’re a fan of seafood the restaurants and fish markets offer some of the best produce available in the UK. Whitstable is one of the nicest towns along the Kent coast and offers a great “outdoors” lifestyle for kids. The sailing clubs are a popular weekend pursuit for those with sturdy sea legs. It also has some stunning views across the sea from the restaurants and bars situated on the beach.
Commute to London 1 hour 26 minutes to London Cannon Street 1 hour 28 minutes to London St Pancras 1 hour 30 minutes to London Victoria
House Prices 2 bed flat: £155k 5 Bedroom House: £499,950
Annual Season Ticket: £4,492
Area If the popular commuter town of St Albans is too expensive then Bishops Stortford provides an excellent alternative. Located in East Hertfordshire on the border with Essex, commuter links to the capital are excellent. A pretty market town with a good selection of Victoria and Edwardian town houses located close to the centre of town. The most sought after areas are towards the north with the south being dominated by 60’s buildings and chain stores. Ofsted has rated many of the schools in the north as excellent, however if you’re living in one of the surrounding villages gaining a placement for your child can be difficult. With house prices on average 25-30% cheaper than St Albans, you can experience rural living without the rising expense of more the popular commuter towns.
Commute to London 42 minutes to Liverpool Street
Annual Season Ticket: £3,840
House Prices 4 Bedroom Detached: £500k 3 Bedroom Semi-Detached: £350k 2 Bedroom Flat: £245k
Wendover used to suffer from traffic congestion but ever since the Wendover bypass this beautiful market town has become a much more pleasant place to live. Its picturesque town centre has seen it become very popular with commuters and house prices have risen over recent years, although with a little bit of hard work there are still some great finds to be found. Sitting at the foot of the Chiltern Hills (designated an area of outstanding natural beauty) it provides a great location for those wishing to explore the countryside during the weekend. Surrounded by forest the working world of London can seem a million miles away.
Commute to London 45 minutes to London Marylebone
Annual Season Ticket £3,720
House Prices 5 Bedroom Detached House: £735k 4 Bedroom Semi- Detached House: £535k 4 Bedroom Town House: £389,950
Broxbourne has a certain amount of “olde world” charm and is already fairly popular with commuters. There isn’t much in the way of shopping although it does have a large Tesco’s and M&S nearby. If shopping is your thing then a car is definitely needed. Broxbourne school has an excellent reputation although as is the case with many satellite towns, finding a place can be challenging.
There’s not much to do in the town but the close proximity to London is ideal for those wishing to commute.
Commute to London 29 minutes to Liverpool St
Annual Season Ticket: £2,536
House Prices 2 bedroom terrace: £250k 5 bedroom detached: £635k 2 bedroom flat: £190,995
This article was written by Prolific Mortgage Finance. A London mortgage broker specialising in large mortgages, fixed rate mortgages, development finance and tracker rates.