Five commuting hotspots for tenants
When choosing a rental property, the proximity of your current workplace, or potential for new job opportunities, is likely to be high on your list of criteria.
Strong transport links, affordable rents and a good supply of available housing are three elements which combine to make an ideal living location for commuting tenants.
One of the largest towns in the UK and known as one of the furthest points from the sea, Northampton, situated in the East Midlands county of Northamptonshire, is a gateway to a host of Midlands cities and is an excellent living location for savvy commuters.
The Midlands town is situated by the M1 and so has handy road links to London, as well as Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham and the North. Rail commuters can travel to Birmingham in just over an hour, while London Euston is accessible in just 56 minutes.
Rents in Northampton are competitive and tenants could quite easily find a high quality, yet affordable property. According to Zoopla figures, the average monthly rent for a three-bedroom house in Northampton is £877, while a one-bed house or flat will typically set you back around £525 each month. Our most recent figures show that the average rent for the whole of the East Midlands region dropped slightly between September and October but has stayed relatively stable since May.
West Lothian's largest town, Livingston is situated between Edinburgh and Glasgow, just 15 miles west of the former and around 30 miles east of the latter. The highly residential area is popular with commuters, particularly those who want to work in the big cities but prefer to live away from them.
The perfect location for commuters looking to work in either of Scotland's two largest cities, Livingston is just 46 minutes away from Glasgow on the train, while Edinburgh can be reached in a mere 20 minutes. The West Lothian town is also situated right by the M8, the road which links the Scottish capital and Glasgow.
The average asking rent in Livingston is currently £679 per month, according to Zoopla. This compares favourably with the average rental costs in Scotland's two biggest cities, which are both over £750 per month. With space at a premium in the big metropolitan areas, you're more likely to find a larger rental property without breaking the bank each month in a location like Livingston.
Luton is one of Bedfordshire's largest towns and well-known for having its own airport. The area has long been popular with commuters forced out of the capital due to high living prices, as well as those who require more space for their families.
Its proximity to London means Luton is a popular location with people working in the capital. A train to London Blackfriars takes around 50 minutes, while the Luton to London St Pancras journey can now be completed in just 24 minutes. The commuter hotspot is also situated on the M1 and not far from the M25 and M4.
The average asking rent in Luton is currently £829 pcm, significantly cheaper than many London locations. In nearby St Albans, for example, the average asking rent is well over £1,000 pcm. As you might expect, one bed-properties represent the best value for money, although the typical two-bed rental house or flat here is still well under the £900 per month mark.
A former hub for cotton and silk production, Stockport is just seven miles south of Manchester and so is the ideal location for commuters looking for somewhere affordable to live. The town, which has a population of under 150,000, is also close to the tech and media hub MediaCityUK in Salford, which has become a hive of employment and industry in recent years thanks, in large part, to the BBC's relocation.
For tenants working in Manchester, Stockport is the ideal location to live. The commute can take just nine minutes by train and can also easily be done in the car or on the bus. Meanwhile, the other nearby employment hub of Salford is just 25 minutes away on the train. Stockport has fantastic road links to the rest of the North West thanks to its proximity to the M60, M56 and A6.
The average monthly rent in Stockport is currently around the £680 mark, according to Zoopla. Interestingly, a high proportion of two-bed rental properties in the area could be picked up for lower than the local average. Our Rental Index shows a similar picture for the whole of the North West region, with an average rent of £692 in October 2017, up by just over 2% over the last year.
This small cathedral city, situated in Gloucestershire, is perfectly placed for commuters based in the South West or West Midlands. Its city centre and docks, combined with its high-quality housing options and cultural heritage, mean Gloucester is a desirable place to live. Regardless, it remains affordable - particularly for tenants.
The area is a fantastic focal point for commuters looking to work in any of the large employment hubs in the South West. Cheltenham is just nine minutes away on the train, while Bristol and Cardiff can both be reached in approximately an hour by rail. Road links are also good with easy access to the M4 and M5.
Rents in Gloucester are most certainly on the affordable side. According to Zoopla, the average rent for a two-bed flat is just £641 pcm, while a typical one-bed property in the city will set you back just £432 each month. Despite its growing student population, Gloucester's rental market is nowhere near as ferocious as those in nearby Bristol and Cardiff where demand for rental homes consistently outstrips supply, pushing up prices in the process.