With 2018 rail fare increases set to outstrip wage growth, and poor rail services making headlines across 2017, estate agent Jackson-Stops has revealed its top commuter hotspots based on a host of considerations including house prices, annual house price growth, train reliability and speed of journey.
Luton in Bedfordshire has been revealed as the ‘number one’ commuter location, followed by Dorking in Surrey, with three locations occupying a busy joint third place: Slough, Tonbridge and Weybridge.
Despite winning the unflattering title of ‘worst place to live in the UK’ by Reddit users last year, Luton has beaten the odds and proved its critics wrong. House prices in the town have increased 10% annually, well above the national average, and the equivalent of nearly £23,000 – an equity increase which covers the cost of the annual train season ticket from Luton to London more than fourfold.
Nick Leeming, Chairman at Jackson-Stops, commented: “Commuters to London are going to be feeling the strain of their annual rail fare in 2018, with the 3.4% average increase in price outstripping wage growth for many. For those moving within the London commuter belt, and families moving out of central London, location will be key. It isn’t just about the average house price, many people will have first-hand experience of train delays, engineering works and strikes, and will be looking closely at the length, quality and cost of their commute.
“The reliability of trains is something buyers are looking at more closely when they move to an area and there are stark differences between the different train operators. It’s no good the journey taking 25 minutes in theory when it is blighted by delays every day and ends up taking much longer!
“Luton has prevailed, shaking off the reputation perpetuated by that 1970s Campari advert. The Bedfordshire town benefits from fast and frequent trains into the heart of London, comparatively low house prices and strong levels of annual price growth. The town is set for further expansion with £1.5 billion of inward investment promised over the next couple of years, including a £110 million investment into London Luton Airport and £300 million into nearby mixed use development Napier Gateway. These ongoing projects are expected to create 18,500 new job opportunities in Luton, and a high demand for new homes.”