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the_dork

Commuter Areas For London

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Apologies as I'm sure this has been done before. I bought a 3 bed flat in Walthamstow flat for 250k December 2012, no mortgage. I would now guess it's 'worth' (NB. I feel sick writing this) around 350k.

I purchased following an inheritance from my wife and it was very much with a view to staying for the medium term. However, as the area gentrifies I feel lucky that I caught the boat at the right time for what is really, an ordinary area. With second child on the way I am considering going somewhere more 'middle class' even if it means playing the mortgage game which I swore I'd never do.

I am aware I could move away and live the life of Riley. However, my friends and family remain in London and I do enjoy the cultural life of the capital (again, cringe slightly at writing that) as am a theatre buff and love live music. I have an easy, comfortable job in Central London which I would be wary of giving up.

I am so far considering:

Potters Bar-25/30% cheaper so could probably get small house without mortgage.Very commuter town, ultimately a harmless dull place but nice train journey in

Stevenage-bit further, greater travel cost, bit more to do, still not the nicest place

St Albans-nicest, similar in price but a bit 'smug' for a council flat lad like me.

I am starting to look at Kent, not an area I know that well but seems like a good balance

Does anyone have a view on these or other commuter areas for London?

EDIT: Thanks for comments so far. Am working Kings Cross and looking for max commute of an hour (door to door which is possibly a bit greedy).

Edited by the_dork

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As another Walthamstow resident who had considered moving out I'm coming to the conclusion that even new expensive Walthamstow is still cheaper than commuter belt towns I like, especially when the 400-500 a month train fare is taken into account. As I'd also lose the half hour at the end of each day that I see my kids I'm going to stay or for a while.

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Apologies as I'm sure this has been done before. I bought a 3 bed flat in Walthamstow flat for 250k December 2012, no mortgage. I would now guess it's 'worth' (NB. I feel sick writing this) around 350k.

I purchased following an inheritance from my wife and it was very much with a view to staying for the medium term. However, as the area gentrifies I feel lucky that I caught the boat at the right time for what is really, an ordinary area. With second child on the way I am considering going somewhere more 'middle class' even if it means playing the mortgage game which I swore I'd never do.

I am aware I could move away and live the life of Riley. However, my friends and family remain in London and I do enjoy the cultural life of the capital (again, cringe slightly at writing that) as am a theatre buff and love live music. I have an easy, comfortable job in Central London which I would be wary of giving up.

I am so far considering:

Potters Bar-25/30% cheaper so could probably get small house without mortgage.Very commuter town, ultimately a harmless dull place but nice train journey in

Stevenage-bit further, greater travel cost, bit more to do, still not the nicest place

St Albans-nicest, similar in price but a bit 'smug' for a council flat lad like me.

I am starting to look at Kent, not an area I know that well but seems like a good balance

Does anyone have a view on these or other commuter areas for London?

Well it depends partly where you are working in Central London and the possibility of being their long term.

If you are working near any of the following, Victoria, South Kensington, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo or Blackfriars.

I would consider the London Borough of Bromley. The prices are lower and the commute to those stations would be quite easy.

Also your commute would be cheaper than the places you mentioned.

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Potters bar is boring imo....Welwyn Garden city is quite nice as long as you don't live right next to the motorway traffic noise..... train into Kings Cross £2,700 PA season ticket. ;)

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Kent and Bucks have grammar schools, if that interests you. High Wycombe privacy similar price to St Albans. Bits of Kent I liked (Tunbridge way) are a bit of a hefty commute, like 1 hour train.

Milton Keynes surprisingly quick commute given how far out.

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I'd move out side of London down to the south coast if I were you. Most in the private sector can find a job 30-40mins commute from the south cost housing is relatively cheap and wages largely the same as London (in some cases more). London just seems a complete rip off to may same wages, higher cost of living and unfriendly people..

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I'd move out side of London down to the south coast if I were you. Most in the private sector can find a job 30-40mins commute from the south cost housing is relatively cheap and wages largely the same as London (in some cases more). London just seems a complete rip off to may same wages, higher cost of living and unfriendly people..

I tend to agree with you, you can get far more for your money property wise....the people are more laid back, smile more often and are generally very friendly, there is more space to share amongst fewer people....less in the way of job choices but the jobs and the opportunities are there for those that look for them.....trains into London, just plan on doing it a couple of times a week outside of rush hours. ;)

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...St Albans-nicest, similar in price but a bit 'smug' for a council flat lad like me.

...

Does anyone have a view on these or other commuter areas for London?

I live in St Albans.

The commute into London is as fast as the tube (Fleet Street is one hour door-to-door, King's X will be a bit less). You'll have to get a 1st class season ticket if you want a seat on the train out of London in the evenings.

The city is very safe - very important to me. My wife sometimes works past midnight, and I never worry about her getting mugged etc... Do not underestimate this aspect.

Social life is good. Pubs, good food, live bands.

Very few chavs.

On the other hand:

The commuters are very smug and self-centered. Don't bother trying to Q on the platform in the morning, they are bankers and Qing is for the little people. Oh and the commute into London was flagged by the Grauniad as both the most expensive (per mile) in the UK, and operated by the train company with the lowest customer-satisfaction ratings.

Traffic jams are guaranteed at rush hour.

House prices have gone to infinity and beyond - there's a nondescript 2 bed terrace on a nondescript street (Lattimore Road) that's just sold STC for a cool half million.

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I was in a similar position last year, living in the rapidly gentrifying seven sisters area but needing a bigger house. Looked at moving to welwyn garden city (my home town) but both me and the mrs work in London so it didn't make sense when factoring in 2 train fares. We moved to South Woodford instead and really like it so far- nice area, big houses, good transport, good schools...

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I live in St Albans.

The commute into London is as fast as the tube (Fleet Street is one hour door-to-door, King's X will be a bit less). You'll have to get a 1st class season ticket if you want a seat on the train out of London in the evenings.

The city is very safe - very important to me. My wife sometimes works past midnight, and I never worry about her getting mugged etc... Do not underestimate this aspect.

Social life is good. Pubs, good food, live bands.

Very few chavs.

On the other hand:

The commuters are very smug and self-centered. Don't bother trying to Q on the platform in the morning, they are bankers and Qing is for the little people. Oh and the commute into London was flagged by the Grauniad as both the most expensive (per mile) in the UK, and operated by the train company with the lowest customer-satisfaction ratings.

Traffic jams are guaranteed at rush hour.

House prices have gone to infinity and beyond - there's a nondescript 2 bed terrace on a nondescript street (Lattimore Road) that's just sold STC for a cool half million.

Oakleigh Park 20 mins into town on fast train.......I think London is on the whole a very safe place always has been, and the people are interesting and varied.....the pace is fast and can be exciting, but the congestion, air quality, traffic, claustrophobic feeling, many faces with no expression going places like worker ants.....they say I should like it, want to go there, want to do this or join that, but I tell them I don't. ;)

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The problem is that anywhere that is reasonably nice and has a reasonable commute will be at least the same price and then you have to factor in the train fare and hassle. Unlike the tube, you are generally only on one line so if that goes down, you don't get into work that day.

If you are looking at the Kent stretch, it is probably worth looking at Orpington - perhaps not a wonderful place but a quick commute, in the travelcard zones and your £350k will buy something reasonable. Don't look at Sevenoaks because if you find a house there for £350k there will be something wrong with it. Any further out on that line and the commute gets massive.

Round into Surrey and you could look at parts of Sutton (similar to Orpington) or perhaps even Epsom. The commute from there is quite long, but it is quite a nice place and is served by two separate train companies.

Avoid anywhere on the Surrey mainline (Wimbledon, Surbiton, Esher, Weybridge etc) as it is all rip-off prices and the trains are massively over-crowded.

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Avoid anywhere on the Surrey mainline (Wimbledon, Surbiton, Esher, Weybridge etc) as it is all rip-off prices and the trains are massively over-crowded.

And also the trains go to Waterloo/Clapham Junction which is not so convenient for most jobs.

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And also the trains go to Waterloo/Clapham Junction which is not so convenient for most jobs.

Good point. I guess it depends on where you work, but I'd much rather be on a line that goes into London Bridge/Cannon Street as well as Waterloo/Charing Cross. I'd avoid anything which goes into Victoria unless you work right there because it is not very central and it is often hard to get on the tube in the morning.

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The seven sisters gentrification is being driven by those priced out of islington, Stoke Newington etc and looking along the train and tube lines to where is affordable. As with walthamstow, prices last year went up >30% as it was suddenly on people's radar. Sold my house for double what I bought it for in 2006.

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Where are all these gents coming from? Is this merely a knock on effect of people doing the same in the centre?

The "Champagne Tower" as Savills coined it?

There's a continously stream of people finishing their London party decade, having families and realising the zone 1/2 flat isn't enough so they need a house. Zone 1/2 hoar isn't a option for most so they had our till they find the first house they can afford.

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Probably Romford/Harold Hill, with perhaps renting a semi-detached for the cost of a Docklands slave box. Romford to Liverpool Street in about 20 mins. Easy access to the Jubilee/DLR too from Stratford etc.

There are nice leisure facilities and golf courses that way too and access to the M25 is a piece of cake if you need to get out.

Though I confess I'm a bit out of the loop now.

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Probably Romford/Harold Hill, with perhaps renting a semi-detached for the cost of a Docklands slave box. Romford to Liverpool Street in about 20 mins. Easy access to the Jubilee/DLR too from Stratford etc.

There are nice leisure facilities and golf courses that way too and access to the M25 is a piece of cake if you need to get out.

Though I confess I'm a bit out of the loop now.

Whilst I wouldn't recommend Romford/Harold Hill through past experience. A bit bit further down the train line in Brentwood/Sheffield is worth a shout. With cross rail on the way and decent transport links by road, it's not bad. Just avoid the orange people in the high street:)

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Staines. Easy access to motorways, 35 mins to waterloo... A few less to Clapham. Trains not too crowded except in the evening, lovely stretch of the River. Should be some bargains nearer the river this year.

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Staines. Easy access to motorways, 35 mins to waterloo... A few less to Clapham. Trains not too crowded except in the evening, lovely stretch of the River. Should be some bargains nearer the river this year.

Not that cheap though.

Ashford (Kent) seems cheap enough, but the season ticket is expensive so perhaps only worth it if you have a large income.

Outer South London, but not south west.

E.g., Kenley, Orpington, etc.

The grotty parts of Kent only if you are looking for a nice house - not for the 2-up 2-down sort of thing where you will be surrounded by chavs.

Reading is not too bad.

Milton Keynes

Northants, generally (e.g., Wellingborough)

South Essex (Upminster east to Southend), but again beware of chavs.

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Bromley and Chislehurst have good trains to London.

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Locrating can be quite useful for getting a rough overview about an area. It's a google maps hack that allows you to search based on commuting time, distance from station and / or schools, property price and ofsted rating. Pity it doesn't also include the current season ticket price as well. You can always get that from here

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Apologies as I'm sure this has been done before. I bought a 3 bed flat in Walthamstow flat for 250k December 2012, no mortgage. I would now guess it's 'worth' (NB. I feel sick writing this) around 350k.

I purchased following an inheritance from my wife and it was very much with a view to staying for the medium term. However, as the area gentrifies I feel lucky that I caught the boat at the right time for what is really, an ordinary area. With second child on the way I am considering going somewhere more 'middle class' even if it means playing the mortgage game which I swore I'd never do.

I am aware I could move away and live the life of Riley. However, my friends and family remain in London and I do enjoy the cultural life of the capital (again, cringe slightly at writing that) as am a theatre buff and love live music. I have an easy, comfortable job in Central London which I would be wary of giving up.

I am so far considering:

Potters Bar-25/30% cheaper so could probably get small house without mortgage.Very commuter town, ultimately a harmless dull place but nice train journey in

Stevenage-bit further, greater travel cost, bit more to do, still not the nicest place

St Albans-nicest, similar in price but a bit 'smug' for a council flat lad like me.

I am starting to look at Kent, not an area I know that well but seems like a good balance

Does anyone have a view on these or other commuter areas for London?

EDIT: Thanks for comments so far. Am working Kings Cross and looking for max commute of an hour (door to door which is possibly a bit greedy).

I lived in Potters Bar for 12 years after moving from North London. Bulk of that time raising a family. It is a sleepy little harmless town but has the potential to be something else sandwiched between Hadley Wood and Brookmans Park.

I know you said you can be mortgage free but the better houses are around Darkes Lane so if you could I would get myself a modest mortgage and try to get a detached.. You don't want to be South of the High st behind Oakmere Park.

We found it fantastic for 4 reasons:

People are great made lots of friends - I run a business with my ex neighbour now

Kids quality of life simply bursting with leisure facilities including Furzefield with proper swimming facilities. South Herts spent all it's budget 10 years ago on upgrading its leisure centres. There are numerous youth sports teams and the scouts and guides.

Safe - lots of Met officers live there and it shows again like all south Herts very low crime

Transport - the one stop train from PB to Kings Cross is warp speed in comparison to other parts of London and you can then Boris bike or walk which a lot of us do once at KX. The other plus is you have three back up lines St Albans, Cuffley and the tube at Cockfosters. In my my mind being dependent on one line like the other parts of London mentioned is a pain. Finally on the transport front if you need a mini cab from Central London not too spicy. On a sat night we will cruise in down the A1 30 mins to the West End and a nice journey through Swiss Cottage and Hampstead.

On your other locations my office is in St Albans a vastly overrated place with a big church- everyone and everything up its own a***

Stevenage too far and reliant on one train and very chavtastic. There isn't more to do there either. The old gentile middle class roots of Potters Bar mean as I said there are all manner of things going on including 3 cricket teams, football, rugby, cycling teams and a diving shop with lessons at Furzefield !

Personally I think it is under valued with its proximity to London but that will change.

I came from Muswell Hill so it's not like I was grateful after coming from a London S***hole. A lot of us did that came initially for a few years and then stayed to raise our family there says a lot about the place.

Edited by Greg Bowman

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Not that cheap though.

Ashford (Kent) seems cheap enough, but the season ticket is expensive so perhaps only worth it if you have a large income.

Outer South London, but not south west.

E.g., Kenley, Orpington, etc.

The grotty parts of Kent only if you are looking for a nice house - not for the 2-up 2-down sort of thing where you will be surrounded by chavs.

Reading is not too bad.

Milton Keynes

Northants, generally (e.g., Wellingborough)

South Essex (Upminster east to Southend), but again beware of chavs.

Wouldn't the season ticket from Reading, Milton Keynes etc be quite expensive? IMHO once you leave London the savings more than go in train fares, although of course you have to do the maths.

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