As more residents of the UK have learnt to appreciate the importance of space and the outdoors following months of lockdown, many city-workers are seeking commuter towns outside of London, with easy access into the city and the benefit of more space. But even as you make your way out of London, properties can be costly, especially with additional rail fares and living costs.
With this in mind, we reveal the most affordable places to live near London with the costs of rail fares for each location.
1. Luton, Bedfordshire
Luton is a large town with a population of about 258,000. It is host to Luton Airport and is close to Aylesbury, Stevenage, north-northwest of London and the south-east of Milton Keynes. Luton is in the process of becoming a Business Improvement District, bringing residents and visitors a wealth of even more restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs.
The cost of living in Luton is 4% less than the national average. Food, transportation and healthcare costs are slightly more affordable than the UK average, whilst housing costs are average in Luton.
The average house price is £273,765
The average cost of rent is £836 pcm
An annual season ticket from Luton to London will start at around £4,428
2. Basildon, Essex
Basildon is an ideal commuter town, with excellent rail and road links to provide easy access to Chelmsford and Southend, while a commute to London takes only around 30 minutes. Situated in the Green Belt, residents can enjoy a range of parks and nature reserves benefitting from true country living. Plenty of amenities are available and the town centre is soon to receive a £1bn investment for further improvements.
Basildon’s cost of living score is 3% less than the national average for food, transportation, health services, rent, utilities, taxes and miscellaneous items. Whilst housing costs are just below average, food, transportation and healthcare are amongst the lowest cost in the UK.
The average house price is £280,592
The average cost of rent is £1,038
An annual season ticket from Basildon to London will start at around £3,020
3. Billericay, Essex
Billericay is a small town of period homes, surrounded by mature woodland and nature reserves. As an ideal location for families, Billericay boasts excellent schools, a busy high street and also provides fantastic commuter links to London.
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The cost of living in this area is 1% less than the national average. Food, transportation and healthcare costs are more affordable than the average, but you will pay slightly more in housing costs.
The average house price is £465,440
The average cost of rent is £1,288 pcm
An annual season ticket from Billericay to London will start at around £3,696
4. Harlow, Essex
Surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Hertfordshire, Harlow provides the best of both worlds for city commuters. There are excellent road links on the M11, and it takes around 40 minutes from Harlow station to travel to the centre of London. Properties in the area are period homes in Old Harlow as well as more affordable terraced homes. Schools are good here and there are a wealth of shops, restaurants and cafes.
The cost of living in Harlow is average to the rest of the UK, with food, housing and healthcare only slightly below average in affordability than the national average.
The average house price is £315,111
The average cost of rent is £1,106 pcm, although Harlow does not have a large rental market
An annual season ticket from Harlow Town to London will start at around £3,544
5. Gravesend, Kent
Gravesend offers rivers, countryside, stunning architecture, historic villages, lots of amenities and plenty of events for residents and visitors to enjoy. This area is home to Gravesend Gurdwara; Europe’s largest Sikh place of worship where a warm welcome is guaranteed by the wonderful Sikh community. A journey into London from this area will only take you 24 minutes by train.
The cost of living in Gravesend is mostly average, with housing costs slightly higher than the UK average. Overall, Gravesend is only 1% more expensive than the national average.
The average house price is £331,074
The average cost of rent is £909 pcm
An annual season ticket from Gravesend to London will start at around £3,672
6. Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Stevenage is well-known for being a commuter town, offering excellent rail links directly to London, Newark, Royston, Cambridge and Moorgate. Trains to London Kings Cross station run eight times an hour during peak times, taking only 25 minutes. Road links and Luton Airport are also very accessible. The town is split between the historical Old Town and the New Town offering plenty of green space, including Hampson Park, a 24-acre park where community events are usually held and Fairlands Valley Park, offering a variety of water sports. Stevenage also offers plenty of shops and other amenities.
All costs of living in Stevenage are higher than the national average but comes to only 2% higher in average when considering all costs.
The average house price is £306,262
The average cost of rent is £822 pcm
An annual season ticket from Stevenage to London will start at around £3,964
7. Maidstone, Kent
Offering all the amenities of a busy market town, ‘outstanding’ local schools and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Maidstone is a popular place for families to live. From Maidstone, you can get to London Victoria within an hour or Ashford International is only 25 minutes away with Eurostar services to Paris, Brussels and Lille. Gatwick Airport and London City Airport are most easily accessible from this area and cross-channel ferries are a 50-minute drive away. You can find modest homes in the heart of Maidstone or riverside and countryside homes in the suburbs where families reside.
Housing expenses bring the living costs of this area up, whilst food, transportation and healthcare costs are slightly better than average. Overall, the cost of living in Maidstone is 2% higher than the national average.
The average house price is £336,548
The average cost of rent is £840 pcm
An annual season ticket from Maidstone East, West or Barracks to London will start at around £4,716
8. Southend-on-Sea, Essex
This resort town on the Thames Estuary offers a range of sandy beaches, plenty of parks and gardens, seaside attractions, nightlife, restaurants and other amenities to provide a coastal lifestyle. Trains to London take less than an hour and London Southend Airport offers excellent air travel to Spain, France, Paris, Germany, the Balearics and Portugal. Some schools in this area are rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, making it a popular area for families.
As London commuters become more attracted to this area, house prices have risen. Southend-on-Sea is a bit more expensive, with all costs of living coming to 2% higher than average in comparison to the rest of the UK.
The average house price is £314,407
The average cost of rent is £894 pcm
An annual season ticket from Southend Central to London will start at around £3,740
9. Chelmsford, Essex
Chelmsford has been named as one of the top three places to live in Essex, providing a great place to work, highly rated schools, a welcoming community spirit, plenty of amenities and an interesting culture. As well as indoor shopping centres, you will find green spaces in Hylands Park and other areas ideal for sports and family picnics. Transport within Chelmsford is excellent, as well as offering reliable services into London, Braintree, Clacton-on-Sea, Norwich, Ipswich and Stansted Airport.
The cost of living score in Chelmsford is 3% higher than the national average. Property costs make this area less affordable, whilst food, transportation and healthcare costs are some of the most affordable in the UK.
The average house price is £379,550
The average cost of rent is £993 pcm
An annual season ticket from Chelmsford to London will start at around £4,208
10. Chatham, Kent
Chatham offers an easy 45-minute commute to London by train, as well as excellent road links on the M2 and M20. The historic town once had the country’s largest naval dockyards, which has become a family attraction and an affluent area to live by the water. Victorian terraced houses attract first-time buyers and students at the local university. The area also has a large shopping centre, 627 acres of green spaces and highly rated schools.
Whilst Chatham is considered slightly more expensive for its housing costs, the food, transportation and healthcare costs are some of the most affordable in the UK. Overall, Chatham is 1% more expensive in terms of cost of living compared to the national average.
The average house price is £250,147
The average cost of rent is £792 pcm
An annual season ticket from Chatham to London will start at around £4,372
The average cost of living is based on statistics found by Economic Research Institute, while average rent prices were sourced from home.co.uk and house prices were sourced from Zoopla. Annual season train fares were found through The Trainline.
Please note: Whilst airports and international travel have been referenced throughout this article, please be aware that the Government are advising against travelling outside of the country unless necessary. For more information about Government guidelines, please follow the link here.