Commuter belt house value rises 'paying for annual cost of work journeys'


House prices are rising so fast in some commuter belt areas that they are "earning" home owners enough to pay for their annual transport to work in just a week, according to analysis by a property website.

Zoopla compared the average house price increases in popular commuter towns last year with the cost of annual rail fares to cities nearby.

The study found that home owners in Solihull commuting to Birmingham could have paid off their annual train travel in a week.

The average property in the region increased its worth by around £95 a day over the last year, meaning the rising value could cover an annual £655 fare to Birmingham in seven days, Zoopla said.

Home owners in Surbiton, south-west London, saw the value of their property increase by just over £158 per day, meaning it would take around 11 days for their house to cover the annual cost of a commute into central London, the research found.

Home owners in Barry, South Wales, could cover the cost of an annual commute into Cardiff in 15 days, while those going from Bath to Bristol could cover the cost in 18 days.

House prices in Barry have increased by around £45 per day over the last year, while those in Bath have increased by around £87. 

At the other end of the spectrum, home owners in Dunfermline commuting to Edinburgh, will typically need to wait for 155 days before the rising cost of their property will pay off the cost of their annual fare, while property owners going from Falkirk to Edinburgh will need 144 days, Zoopla found.

House prices in Dunfermline increased by around £10 a day during 2015, while Falkirk saw a £14-a-day rise.

Zoopla spokesman Lawrence Hall said: "Our research shows how much property prices have increased in certain popular commuter areas over the last 12 months and also highlights just how expensive commuter belt living can be.

"As we'd expect, properties in key commuting areas continue to be in demand for buyers in competitive markets.

"While our research may soften the blow of increased rail fares for home-owning commuters, the price rises we're seeing do make it harder for those looking to take their first step on to the property ladder."

Here are the commuter belt hotspots where the rising value of homes will be fastest to match the annual cost of a commute for their owners, according to Zoopla's study.

The figures show average property value, 2016 annual rail card price, average increase in property value per day, and number of days to "pay off" the rail card:

1. Solihull (travelling to Birmingham) £341,470, £655, £95.05, 6.9 days

2. Surbiton (travelling to London) £567,250, £1,820, £158.39, 11.5 days

3. Radyr (travelling to Cardiff) £284,855, £508, £38.60, 13.2 days

4. Tandridge (travelling to London) £687,665, £1,820, £130.42, 14 days

5. Barry (travelling to Cardiff) £184,011, £700, £45.48, 15.4 days

6. Epsom (travelling to London) £505,103, £1,936, £111.41, 17.4 days

7. Penarth (travelling to Cardiff) £299,975, £508, £28.90, 17.6 days

8. Bath (travelling to Bristol) £396,962, £1,552, £87.36, 17.8 days

9. Esher (travelling to London) £1,038,292, £2,044, £114.03, 17.9 days

10. Stockport (travelling to Manchester) £232,712, £700, £34.97, 20 days