House Prices – The Commuter Effect

As you know when it comes to whether a property sells fast or languishes for months on an estate agents list there are a lot of factors at play. One of those factors is transport links.

People, in the UK, are always on the move. They are some of the most mobile people in Europe. Brits go abroad more and they are more likely to work outside of their hometown or city than those who live in Southern Europe.

In the UK, the long commute is becoming the norm. People are increasingly living further away from their work base, which is having a big impact on house prices outside of the capital cities of the UK.

In the past, it was villages and towns within an hour of the major cities where property prices were high. A great example of this is St Albans in Hertfordshire.

This small town became a commuter town as far back as the late 1860s when the railway was built. Local historians point to the steep increase in population to support this idea, and the fact that the vast majority of the houses built in the town during that period were built around the railway station.

Today, this small city is still a popular option for commuters who work in London. A recent survey showed that just over 19% of the city’s population work in London.

The impact these figures have had on house prices is huge. St Albans is one of the most expensive places to buy a home in the south outside of London and its suburbs. However, the city has started to become a victim of its own success. St Albans now has one of the most expensive commutes and people are waking up to the fact that they do not have to pay £400.000+ for a family home if they choose to move to another commuter town.

The long commute trend

People are now looking further afield, much further afield. Even places like Harrogate, which is a 3-hour plus commute from London, have seen a new wave of London workers settling in the area. Over the past five or six years, estate agents in Harrogate have seen demand for family homes soar as people from the south move north.

Increasingly London professionals are setting up home in the historic Yorkshire spa town. Commuters are attracted to the town by the mix of green spaces and traditional shopping streets packed with designer boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops. Around the main pump house, a nightclub district has built up providing somewhere for people to enjoy over the weekend. The schools are good too and for the most part far easier, to get in to than they are in London. In addition, housing in Harrogate is not that cheap, but it is far cheaper than an equivalent in London, the suburbs or the many other commuter towns.

People are increasingly moving to the Midlands. Northampton, Coventry, Leamington Spa and Warwick are all attracting London commuters. Even places like Bristol and Cardiff are attracting commuters. Surprisingly Bristol Parkway is only a 2 hour 23 minute train journey away from the capital.

There is no doubt that as house prices increase and well-paid jobs become scarcer this long distance commuter trend will continue. Without a doubt, this will push up prices in places with strong transport links to the major cities, so now is time to invest in these emerging commuter towns and villages.

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