Move from Camden to St Albans and save more than half a million pounds
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Buyers in central London have to pay on average £450,000 more for their home than those who live just one hour away, new research suggests.
The average cost of a property in zones 1 and 2 in the capital now stands at a staggering £722,000. By contrast, homes in towns that are an hour’s commute from the centre, such as Crawley, Colchester, Newbury and Chatham, cost £272,000 on average.
The research, which was carried out by Lloyds Bank and based on data from the Land Registry, found that travelling just 20 minutes could net you a house at just half the price.
The average asking price of a property in Camden currently stands at £1,042,128, according to Zoopla, while homes in St Albans, half an hour on the train from Kentish Town and as little as a 15-minute commute from West Hampstead, have an average asking price of £508,036, representing a saving of £534,092.
Aside from the additional travel time, a key downside of commuting is the hefty travel costs: Lloyds estimates these can be as high as £5,000 a year into London – money that could have been invested into your home instead if you lived in the city.
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However, the £3,072 cost of a season ticket from St Albans to West Hampstead (average asking price £839,044) is more than offset by the £331,008 saving on buying a property further out of London.
Meanwhile, separate figures released this week showed it was cheaper to commute from Madrid to London, four days a week, than to rent a home in Camden.
Andrew Mason, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank, suggested people looking to commute consider more than just the financial implications.
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He said: “It’s no surprise, for London at least, that the further you commute the larger the difference in house prices – though, of course, the journey also gets longer and more expensive.
“The decision to commute is not simply a trade-off between financial costs and journey times.
“Quality of life is an important consideration and in nearly all towns in this survey housing affordability is significantly better with a London salary compared to what can be earned locally.”