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Younger commuters struggle as capital costs spiral upwards

With increasing living costs and huge annual bills for commuting to and within London, younger workers and first-time buyers are finding themselves seeking residence and work elsewhere – but how affordable are property prices?

16-03-04 - Houses rising in valueLondon has always been regarded as the priciest area of the UK for home ownership and as prices increase, even commuters are beginning to feel the pinch. For many years, commuting into the capital has been an easy way to gain higher earnings while still enjoying affordable living costs, but the lifestyle enjoyed by many workers is hastily slowing.

Some London boroughs still offer a reasonable quality of life, but the cost of the daily commute has risen sharply since the turn of the century, with expenses ranging from £1,912 for Erith, in the London Borough of Bexley, to more than £5404 in Redbridge – causing many first-time buyers to question whether the capital can offer the same quality of life as other big cities in the countries.

So where are they going? Recent figures suggest that the north west is currently experiencing resurgence in growth around its larger cities, with Liverpool and Manchester enjoying property prices rises of 52% and 30% respectively in the last 12 months. Such cities offer similar wage levels to London, but the average home costs over £52,000 less than those in or near the capital.

The government is aware of the issue and is pressing ahead with the continued development of the HS2 high speed train service. This will aim to take commuters from London to Birmingham in 49 minutes when the first phase opens in 2026, with a second phase connecting Leeds and Manchester. However, many UK house buying experts expect that the HS2 service will only serve to increase the number of first-time buyers commuting to the capital, rather than the number living there.

With options to enjoy the booming economies of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, many will be left wondering why they should entertain the thought of working in London at all. For those living in and around the capital looking to sell their homes, this is worrying news as potential UK home buyers begin to look elsewhere to put down roots.

Are you worried that your home will be hard to sell? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property

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