The number of people leaving the capital hit a 10-year high in 2017, with 292,000 people deciding that they had enough of the Big Smoke. With much talk of London affordability and sizing-up opportunities in the suburbs, are we seeing a resurgence of commuter towns? We use the REalyse platform to take a closer look.
Read Time: 5 minutes
When you hear the words ‘commuter town’, images of areas not too far from London will likely pop into your head. While there are commuter towns close to big cities across the whole of the UK, it’s the spiralling house pricesin the capital that have made the need for commuter towns near London so popular.
Over the last 10 years, people have been flocking in their droves from the capital and laying down roots in more affordable towns, creatingsome attractive opportunitiesfor property investors and developers alike. Lower living costs look appealing for those residing in London, where the average house price is just shy of half a million pounds.
But is it merely a case of lower house prices, or are there other factors at play for the resurgence of commuter towns?
Commuter Towns: A History
A commuter town is defined as ‘a populated area with residents who normally work elsewhere, but in which they live, eat and sleep’, according to the folks at Wikipedia. And it’s a fair assessment, too – commuter towns usually serve a primary purpose that is transport related. So proximity to the big cities is key.
Many of these commuter hubs were developed as part of the New Towns Movement. Though they came into play shortly after the Second World War, the reasons weren’t specifically because of house prices back then. London suffered heavily from bomb attacks during the war, and many homes were destroyed as a result.
The destruction left people in the capital with nowhere to live. Consequently, towns such as Stevenage, in Hertfordshire, and Crawley, in West Sussex, are the direct result of the New Towns Movement. Today, the core use of these towns is for people who work in London, but who can’t afford the premium that comes with living in the capital.