Rail fare pain takes the savings shine off a move to the country

Marion Dakers
THE COST of commuting could be putting off Londoners from buying a house outside of the capital, according to figures out today.

Moving to a town in the Home Counties will save the average homeowner more than £10,700 a year on their mortgage, thanks to lower property prices. However, those who keep a job in London will spend around half of this sum, or £5,619 a year, to commute back. Main line rail season ticket prices rose 3.1 per cent this week.

“For a couple who both work regionally the annual cost of travelling in to London could mount up to £10,000, which may ultimately discourage people from moving out,” said Paul Smith, boss of estate agent Haart, which compiled the stats based on 14 commuter towns.

In Oxford and Cambridge, the cost of travelling into London is higher than the mortgage savings a homeowner would make by moving, Haart estimates. The price of an average home there tops £350,000, compared to £437,000 in London.

Upping sticks to Southend or Aylesbury, however, would represent a saving of more than £8,000 a year even with train fares included.

More than 100,000 people moved out of London into the south east in the year to June 2012, according to the Office for National Statistics.