London is expensive. I realise this is hardly breaking news. And it won't come as a shock to anyone. After all the capital is where hundreds of thousands of people live and work. But London is becoming even more expensive. And this is causing problems for tenants who are facing big rent increases. But landlords too are feeling the pinch. House prices continue to spiral upwards. Finding an affordable buy to let property in the capital is becoming more and more challenging.
The rising costs of both renting and buying are driving more and more landlords and tenants to look at commuter towns rather than London itself. Which makes total sense.
With London, rental prices going through the roof (pun intended) tenants are finding it cheaper to rent outside the capital and travel in. By the same token landlords are able to find more reasonably priced properties to fill the upsurge in demand for rentals outside London. And despite the south-east as a whole enjoying a vibrant economy and rising prices, there are still affordable towns near London. Communities which meet the demands of both landlord and tenant.
As we've alluded too there are several solid reasons why both landlords and tenants should choose commuter towns.
· More affordable properties.
· Higher return on investment.
· More choice.
· Increasing demand from renters.
· Lower rents.
· Less competition.
· Improved transport links reducing travelling times.
· Better value for money.
So, there's plenty of good reasons why both landlords and tenants should turn their gaze away from the capital. The lower prices and excellent transport links mean tenants can save money and still easily travel to and from the capital. From their point of view, landlords will be able to expand their portfolio and take advantage of the increasing demand and excellent investment opportunities presented by commuter towns. But which towns or areas provide the best opportunities?
Picking 'the best of' or 'top 10' of anything is by its nature subjective. Everything is an opinion. But in choosing the top 10 London commuter towns we can at least draw on some hard figures. TotallyMoney ranked over 100 commuter towns and cities using different matrixes. They took into account journey time to London, the cost of a rail season ticket, house prices and 'satisfaction.' The last was a score out of ten calculated by responses to a survey. It purports to show how happy residents of each town are with where they live.
According to TotallyMoney the top 10 London commuter towns are:
2. Waltham Cross.
3. High Wycombe.
7. Watford Junction.
10. Hemel Hempstead.
But looking a little deeper into the figures makes things a little less clear cut. For example, Cheshunt isn't the cheapest place for landlords looking for a property. £384,248 is the average house price. For tenants through the 26-minute commute will be attractive. Rent wise a one-bed studio starts at around £550 per month. Far cheaper than London.
For landlords, Gravesend in Kent looks to have possibilities. Property costs of £284,497 seem to provide excellent value and the travel time of 23 minutes to London will ensure plenty of interest from tenants. And with rental prices comparable to Cheshunt it looks affordable.
Of course, statistics can tell different stories to different people. And all the towns on the top 10 list and those which didn't make the cut will have different attractions for landlords and tenants. But what's clear is that with costs increasing on all fronts in the capital more people will be looking towards the commuter towns. And both landlords and tenants will find opportunities there. It's just a matter of looking hard enough.