Top UK Cities If You Want the Magic Combo: A Affordable House and a Short Commute

Top UK Cities If You Want the Magic Combo: A Affordable House and a Short Commute


Which UK City Should You Aim For To Live Near Work Without Paying For It.

As the property bubble continues to grow beyond London, houses that were traditionally reserved for commuters because of their low price and fast connections are steadily going up in price. Those who can not afford these house prices will now have to move even further out and commute for hours every day to get to and from work. This development lead us at House Extension to ask: Is there a city in the UK where you can have it all? An affordable house without the commute to match.

Our research looked at the 14 major cities in the UK. We analysed either, the average house prices for the city’s self-proclaimed top commuter towns from local publications, or if that was not available, the towns within the cities average commuting time. These were then compared to average house prices within the city itself according to Zoopla.

We at House Extension found, contrary to general belief, that there are cities in the UK where it is in fact cheaper to live within the city postcode than in the commuter belt. Cambridge provides the best for your budget with a saving of almost £70k compared to it’s surrounding areas. Birmingham was second on the list with inner city habitants saving almost £70k more than their friends in the suburbs. This trend could be the result of commuter belts overlapping. For example Cambridgeshire has become an unofficial central hub for London commuters with Cambridge itself being on a direct line to Kings Cross. As these areas begin to act as commuter belts for multiple major cities, the house prices are expected to reflect that.







Top 5 UKCities

House prices within these UK cities are more affordable than their commuter belts, leaving their occupants richer in both time and money.

City Average House Price Average Commuter Town House Price Average Daily Commute into City (mins) Price Difference
Cambridge £456,683 £566,040 28.8 £109,357
Birmingham £190,348 £259,313 59.4 £68,965
Nottingham £125,519 £161,507 45.6 £35,988
Newcastle Upon Tyne £207,978 £234,320 66.2 £26,342
Aberdeen £210,522 £234,143 95 £23,621

Of course there are numerous reasons why people may choose to live in the suburbs such as space or schooling, but price is of course a major concern. This study has found,perhaps unsurprisingly, that most of the top five ‘bargain’ cities are all above the North-South divide. In fact our research found that the average house price above the North-South divide was almost exactly half of those sold in the South.

Bottom 5 UK Cities

House prices in these UK cities are significantly less affordable than their commuter belts. Workers therefore, have to travel further away from their offices and extend their daily commutes in search for affordable homes.

City Average House Price Average Commuter Town House Price Average Daily Commute into City (mins) Price Difference
Oxford £495,807 £337,540 102 £158,267
City of London £478,142 £342,833 130 £135,309
Edinburgh £225,133 £150,000 53.8 £75,133
Bristol £295,772 £266,081 58.8 £29,726
Cardiff £219,597 £153,088 45.2 £66,509

It is arguably not surprising that people who work in these cities have a much longer average commute than the national average, currently with the current exception of Cardiff. In 2015 data from the Office of National Statistics found that the average daily commute in the UK was 57.1 minutes; that is 28.5 minutes one way. With house prices systematically inflating, commuter belts will proportionally increase in size as more and more people are priced out.

Thinking Ahead

It is clear that house prices vs. commuting is a tricky decision; one that is dependent on unstable factors like Brexit and the wider housing market. Does the answer lie in more employers offering flexi-time or opportunities to work at home? Is it down to the government to improve the reliability and frequency of public transport: connecting larger areas together so commuting covers more ground per minute? We would love to hear your thoughts below.