The next big commuter hotspots for Londoners: Manchester? Glasgow? Newquay?

Sarah Coles
View of the city of Glasgow in Scotland - High dynamic range
View of the city of Glasgow in Scotland - High dynamic range

A new study has revealed that London-based workers trying to afford a property may be better off leaving London, buying in another UK city, and catching a plane to work.

It discovered that even with the cost of commuting by plane and staying in London for a few nights a week, you'd be better off than trying to service an enormous mortgage in order to own in the capital.

The research, by eMoov looked at eight cities in the UK with direct flights to London. It calculated the cost of flying to London on Monday, staying close to the airport for four nights, and then flying home on the Friday. Astonishingly, it discovered that buying in seven of the cities were cheaper options for commuters than buying in London.


The city offering the biggest annual mortgage saving was Glasgow. With an average house price of just £155,195, the annual mortgage saving compared to the capital is £21,275. The cost of a weekly round trip into London is just £52.98 via Ryan Air for an 80-minute flight, with accommodation bringing the total to just £204.98 a week, or £9,429 a year.

Belfast offers the second cheapest option for commuters flying into London. A year's worth of travel and accommodation will set you back just over £8,000, and the annual mortgage saving falls just short of £20,000 when compared to London, resulting in an annual saving of £11,547 for another 80-minute commute into London.

Manchester is the best bet for those wanting to remain in England and third biggest saving across all eight of the cities researched. At £162,970 it's home to the second lowest average house price and a BA flight will take you to Heathrow in just 65 minutes, with travel and accommodation costing £12,334 annually. When subtracted from the annual mortgage saving when compared to a London property, Manchester homeowners would save £8,564 a year.

A similar commute from Leeds would result in homeowners in the Yorkshire city cashing in on an annual saving of £7,670 on their mortgage, after paying the cost of £12,150 a year for travel and accommodation.

Newcastle and Edinburgh take a bit longer to fly from, but still constitute enough of a saving to make it worth considering: buying in either of the cities would save you £7,000 a year. Even buying in Newquay would save £5,498 a year - with the added lifestyle benefits of the seaside location.

There was only one of the eight cities outside of London where homeowners would be worse off by commuting in by plane. The annual mortgage saving is £16,234, but the return flight from Exeter to London City Airport is the second most expensive of the eight cities (£115) and the cost of staying around London City Airport is also the most expensive of the lot (£320 a week). As a result, the total cost hits £20,055 a year, cancelling out the mortgage saving and seeing homeowners in Exeter £3,820 worse off.

Would you do it?

Already several cities a long way from London are considered serious commuter options - including Bath and Southampton. Increasingly, long-distance commutes and short-term overnight stays in London are becoming more accepted norms. This study doesn't add to the journey time from this kind of destination - it just pushes it into the skies.

eMoov CEO and Founder, Russell Quirk, says: "With London property prices continuing to push aspirational buyers further and further out of the capital, there's no telling where we might be in ten years' time in terms of the commute people will consider if prices continue to climb from the inside out."

"Luckily the increasing improvement of transport infrastructure across the nation has made commuting larger distances more manageable. We're not saying commuting by plane is an option for everyone and there are other time requirements to consider in terms of checking in on time. However, as with all new commutes you soon adapt and if it was a choice between 80-minutes stuck on the Central line at rush-hour, five hours on a train from Cornwall, or an hour or so gliding through the clouds, I know which one I would pick."


In fact, people aren't just commuting from the likes of Manchester and Glasgow, there are also plenty of people who commute from Europe. In Europe, the number of people living in one country and working in another rose by 40% between 2004 and 2010, according to David Ralph, an assistant professor of sociology at Trinity College Dublin.

One blogger made his home in Barcelona and works in London. The journey door-to-door can take five hours or more, but when it's only done on Mondays and Fridays, it becomes less arduous. In theory, a commute from central Madrid would make financial sense too.

Last year it emerged that one London student had even decided to save on rent by commuting from Poland (despite the fact his parents live in Hampshire).

But what do you think? Could you become a super-commuter, or would you rather live in a shoebox on the outskirts of London and spend less time in the air or on the road? Let us know in the comments.