London is an exciting place in which to live and work, and as an economic powerhouse and destination that offers everything from amazing restaurants and bars to some of the UK’s most iconic cultural attractions, it truly is a city with a great deal to offer.
As a result, the city continues to grow and attract thousands of people every year, with many hoping to experience the hustle and bustle of life in the capital and to make a little piece of it their own.
In many ways, however, London is now suffering as a direct result of its own popularity, with massive demand for housing and an increased cost of living, in comparison to the rest of the UK, many would-be Londoners are now being priced out of the market.
High cost of living could be pushing people outwards
The latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showcase the relatively higher cost of living associated with the Greater London area, with individuals paying on average seven per cent more for goods and services than in other parts of the UK.
According to the ONS, London continues to demonstrate the highest relative regional consumer price levels out of anywhere in the UK, with the highest costs associated with leisure and culture (14.8 per cent above the national average).
Furniture and household goods were also shown to be considerably more expensive in the capital (12.2 per cent higher), as well as restaurant and hotel costs (13 per cent), clothing and footwear (3.5 per cent), transport (3.3 per cent) and food/drink (2.2 per cent). In all, the ONS data revealed there is not a single category of expenditure where London was cheaper than other regions in the UK.
Meanwhile, London property prices remain far higher than in many other parts of the country, with the latest UK House Price Index data for January this year showing the average property in England now has a value of £234,794. This compares to an average value in London that is more than double at £490,718.
As a result, many people are now choosing to move outside of the high price areas of central London in favour of the growing commuter belt that offers easy access to the city for work and leisure, but doesn’t come with the associated London price tag.
Commuting continues to gain in popularity
At present, there remain a significant number of areas located just outside of London itself that offer the perfect solution to London’s high cost of living and housing. Towns like Luton, Slough, Weybridge and Woking are gaining momentum at a time when the pull of the capital remains, but more people are seeking affordable living.
According to research published earlier this year by estate agent Jackson-Stops, Luton comes out on top in terms of being the number one London commuter hotspot out of all towns in the south-east of England.
The Bedfordshire town was praised for its affordable property prices (just £252,896 on average) and also for its positive outlook for investors, with a projected annual property value increase of ten per cent during the coming years.
At the same time, Luton residents benefit from a daily commuter journey of just 22 minutes to reach the centre of the capital by train, with the likelihood of travellers having access to a seat during their morning journey into work being rated highly – this might sound frivolous, but comfort is an important factor in many people’s commuter calculations.
Overall, the research showed there are now many fantastic options for those wishing to work in London, but who wish to live outside of it. Indeed, the number of people choosing to commute into the city in 2018 is now at an all-time high, and with the growing attraction of commuter living, investors in areas just outside of central London itself could be setting themselves up for success in the months and years to come.
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