If you’re mulling over a move in the property market, how easy, difficult or affordable the commute by train to the nearest big population centre may be worth factoring in.

Rail fares rose by an average of 3.1% at the start of January 2019 but travelling to work via rail remains the preferred option for many, so the quality and value of a local service remains important.

And new research by estate agent Jackson-Stops prove useful, particularly if considering moves in or near Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol or London. They considered a range of factors including:

  • Property price
  • Costs of an annual season ticket and station parking
  • Journey time/punctuality
  • Likelihood of getting a seat

Gatley tops Manchester chart

The top commuting hotspot for Manchester was Gatley, the suburb of Stockport from where it should take 16 minutes to get to Manchester Piccadilly. Stockport was recently named as the second-best place for a buy-to-let investment in England and Wales, and it is well served by two train lines into its neighbouring city from the metropolitan borough.

The towns of Tamworth and Bromsgrove tie for first place as the best places to commute into Birmingham from. Property is cheaper in the former, which is 16 minutes from the city centre, although season tickets and parking are higher than in Bromsgrove. At 13 miles from Birmingham’s centre, the latter is a 26-minute trip away, while the chances of getting a seat from either town are rated as ‘sometimes’.

Birmingham, Bristol and London’s commuter towns rated

But with Birmingham’s economy performing well, its property prices holding up and a number of large firms like HSBC and Deutsch Bank moving to the city, it’s ‘commutability’ will become ever more important. On the horizon are major projects, such as building for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the HS2 rail link, which will see workers needing to be moved in and out of the city.

Looking outside of Bristol, Newport makes an appearance at second in the list of commuter hotspots into the city back across the River Severn. It only takes 21 minutes by train, and houses are substantially cheaper in the Welsh city but the recent abolition of road tolls across the Severn have started to nudge Newport’s property prices upwards. Avonmouth just edges Newport as Bristol’s number one commuter hotspot, thanks to a season ticket costing £360.

Luton tops the charts for London’s commuter towns, with relatively cheap housing and a better chance of getting a seat in the morning to offset the higher season ticket price into the capital.