House prices 60pc lower in suburbia

LONDON workers save an average of 60 per cent on house prices by living an hour’s rail journey away from the capital.

New research shows the typical £4,400 annual cost of a 60-minute commute to the centre of London is dwarfed by the money saved from lower property costs.

The Halifax study showed average house prices in these towns, such as Peterborough, Braintree and Oxford, are £245,000. The average cost of a property in the area defined as central London is £620,000.

Prices are typically £275,000 in towns on average 30 minutes away from the capital, including Chelmsford, Milton Keynes, Reading and Stevenage, where rail season tickets cost an average of £3,100 a year.

In areas just 15 minutes’ travel away, such as Wimbledon, Ilford, Watford and Bromley, the average house price is £320,000 with rail travel coming in at £1,400 on average.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Halifax, said workers were lured out of the capital by an improved quality of life, better schools and a different environment, even if they face higher travelling costs to reach their workplace.

“The longer you commute, the larger the difference in house prices. Commuters to London tend to get a lot more for their money than in central London; bigger houses for lower prices.

“Nonetheless, the decision to commute is not simply a trade-off between financial costs and journey times.”

The research also showed that commuters to some major British cities are paying more for living further out.

Workers 30 minutes away from Birmingham, in areas such as Walsall and Coventry, paid an average of £160,000 and those the same distance outside Manchester, in Chorley and Warrington, typically paid £175,000.