Is it too expensive to commute?
Public transport is rubbish. The only thing standing against the requirements to wait around in the wind/cold/wet and then sit snuggled up with sweaty/smelly/bulbous strangers is the fact that is saves you money. Except it doesn’t even do that anymore.
Everyone knows that the absolutely most expensive place to live is in London, which is why everywhere with an hour’s train journey of the capital is full of commuters looking to save a bob or two. However, with the planned 8 per cent increase in train fares in 2012, new figures from estate agents County Homesearch, suggest the cheaper option actually isn’t cheaper anymore.
Despite higher house prices in London, the agency has calculated that the combined cost of rail season tickets and mortgage repayments in commuter towns will next year be on a par with that in some areas of London.
Take the popular commuter town of Swindon, where the combined monthly cost of mortgage repayments on a semi-detached house and rail tickets for two people will be £2,370 in 2012, compared with £2,400 for a couple living in the west London district of Hounslow and £2,432 for a couple living in Ealing.
Similarly, the combined cost of monthly mortgage repayments and rail tickets for two people living in Brighton in 2012 will be £2,281. This compares with £2,098 for a couple living in Elephant & Castle in south London.
But even if you go as cheap as David Dickinson and move to Peterborough, which has some of the cheapest house prices within an hour of London, two people who work in London but live in Peterborough will spend an average of 40 per cent of their income before tax on their commute and mortgage repayments, the estate agency said.
Jonathan Haward, a director at County Homesearch, said: “Our findings threaten to deny towns and villages in counties surrounding London the regular influx of new young professionals needed to maintain local services.”
He went on to say that people on high salaries are unlikely to be dissuaded from the benefits of moving to a large house in the country. However, for many people, a spacious living environment is an “increasingly unattainable luxury”.
Perhaps County Homesearch have a lot of smaller properties to sell in Ealing, Hounslow and Elephant and Castle. Perhaps train fares really are taking the Michael. It’s probably both.