Date: 8.01.18 Author: Arik

Renters

Of 18 areas we looked at, the best value for those wanting to rent is Chatham, on the Medway estuary in North Kent.

Even though the price of a season ticket - £4,124 - looks expensive, renting a two or three bedroom property costs an affordable £866 a month on average, or £10,392 a year.

The total living and travel cost is therefore £14,516, the lowest we found within a reasonable commute zone.

In Greater London the equivalent is £22,604. So renters can save more than £8,000 a year in Chatham, even after paying for their season tickets.

Basildon, at a total cost of £14,552, and Luton, at £14,676, were not far behind.

Oxford, Guildford and St Albans were the most expensive places to live and commute from - by train at least.

For the purposes of comparison, residents in London were assumed to be paying for a zone six annual travel card.

Best towns for renters

Place

Annual rent

Season Ticket

Total cost

Chatham

£10,392

£4,124

£14,516

Basildon

£11,700

£2,852

£14,552

Luton

£10,500

£4,176

£14,676

Southend

£11,544

£3,528

£15,072

Chelmsford

£11,544

£3,968

£15,512

Harlow

£12,168

£3,344

£15,512

Maidstone

£10,788

£5,144

£15,932

Worthing

£11,232

£4,752

£15,984

Slough

£13,500

£2,628

£16,128

Fleet

£12,564

£3,956

£16,520

Hemel H.

£12,900

£3,716

£16,616

Tunbridge W.

£12,012

£4,644

£16,656

Beaconsfield

£14,988

£3,180

£18,168

Reading

£13,476

£5,300

£18,776

St Albans

£15,300

£3,500

£18,800

Guildford

£16,176

£3,620

£19,796

Oxford

£15,864

£5,096

£20,960

London

£20,112

£2,492

£22,604

source: Hometrack

     

Home buyers

For those wanting to buy a two to three bedroom house or flat, Chatham also turns out to be the most affordable, given the train fares.

The total cost for a year, including an average repayment mortgage, is £14,924.

In London the equivalent figure is £25,940. Anyone moving out to Chatham, therefore, could save as much as £11,016.

In the case of home-ownership, Luton is the second most affordable place to live, with Basildon a rather more distant third.

By contrast, St Albans is the most expensive place to live and commute, coming in at £27,248 a year, making it even more pricey than London itself.

Beaconsfield and Guildford are also near the bottom of the list, making them amongst the most expensive places to commute from.

 

Best towns for home buyers

Place

Annual mortgage

Season ticket

Total cost

Chatham

£10,800

£4,124

£14,924

Luton

£11,376

£4,176

£15,552

Basildon

£13,356

£2,852

£16,208

Harlow

£13,416

£3,344

£16,760

Southend

£14,352

£3,528

£17,880

Maidstone

£12,972

£5,144

£18,116

Slough

£15,924

£2,628

£18,552

Worthing

£13,920

£4,752

£18,672

Chelmsford

£15,588

£3,968

£19,556

Reading

£14,784

£5,300

£20,084

Fleet

£16,440

£3,956

£20,396

Tunbridge W.

£16,368

£4,644

£21,012

Hemel H.

£18,084

£3,716

£21,800

Oxford

£18,660

£5,096

£23,756

Guildford

£20,196

£3,620

£23,816

Beaconsfield

£22,392

£3,180

£25,572

London

£23,448

£2,492

£25,940

St Albans

£23,748

£3,500

£27,248

source: Hometrack

     

The Medway towns

The benefits of Chatham apply equally to other towns on the river, including Rochester and Strood, which have similar rail connections to London.

Richard Donnell of Hometrack, which supplied the property costs for the research, says all the towns in the area are worth considering.

"The analysis shows that it's the most affordable areas where the greatest cost benefits of commuting exist.

North Kent has always had good value for money. Housing and transport connections have also improved, with the high speed rail line (HS1) delivering speedy access to London."

Image captionThere is already an influx of Londoners into the Medway, say estate agents

Indeed, St Pancras can now be reached in just 39 minutes from Chatham, although using this route will cost an extra £1,044 a year.

The research itself is based on the cost of a season ticket to south London rail stations like London Bridge, Charing Cross or Victoria, which in any case can take as little as 43 minutes.

Influx

Local estate agents already report an influx of Londoners taking refuge from the capital's prices.

"A lot of people are actually coming out of the London boroughs into the Medway towns, especially around Chatham, because of the commuting," says Darren Knapp, the branch manager of Ward and Partners.

But above all it's the value for money that can be found in the area.

"The average first-time buyer can buy anything from £130,000 right up to whatever value they feel they can afford," says Mr Knapp.

 

 

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