Most affordable commuting towns in UK revealed

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A new study combining mortgage value and rail prices as established the most cost effective towns in the UK when it comes to commuting into major cities.

Property search website Zoopla has announced the results of its study just as commuters face a 2.8% rail fares hike, without any immediate prospect of better services. It reveals that in the London region, Grays is the most affordable place to buy a home for people needing to travel into the capital for work.

The combined cost of a season ticket and mortgage repayments on a property in the Essex town comes to £15,008 a year. The rail journey into Fenchurch Street station lasts 41 minutes.

As far as London goes, Leagrave, a suburb of Luton, was next with a 40-minute rail commute into St Pancras and annual costs of £15,399. This was followed by Crayford (25 minutes to London Bridge, £15,662), near Dartford, Kent.

Basildon and Harlow, both in Essex, made up the top five. It’s noteworthy there were no locations in west or south-west London near the top of the affordability ratings.

The country’s most affordable suburb to commute from was Hindley, a 40-minute rail commute from Manchester Victoria, where combined annual mortgage payments and season ticket costs add up to £6,883.

In northern cities, which are mostly much cheaper to live in than southern cities, people tend to live nearer their places of work so commuting is not such a crucial decision in terms of location, Zoopla notes.

In the Midlands, Wolverhampton offered a mere 20-minute commute into Birmingham with a combined cost of £7,484, with Cannock and Stoke-on-Trent next with £7,934 and £8,273 respectively.

Bristol is increasingly seen as an attractive city to live and work in, with a university that, according to last year’s Times Top 100 Graduate Employers list, is second only to Manchester in terms of graduates most targeted by employers. The most competitive area in reach for commuting in the West Country city is, however, Newport in Wales, where combined mortgage and season ticket costs are £10,166 and the journey time to Bristol Temple Meads is around 40 minutes. Highbridge and Burnham, Somerset, is the next most affordable area, followed by Bridgwater, Caldicot in Wales and Weston-Super-Mare.

Homebuyers looking for value within commuting distance of Edinburgh, should look at Dunfermline, advised Zoopla, where mortgage repayments and travelling costs will set them back by £7,530 a year.

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