- UK rents grew by 0.56 per cent in 2017, a fraction of this week’s 3.6 per cent hike in rail season tickets, but for many commuters the actual financial burden of growing rents will outstrip increases to train fares
- 17 out of the 40 towns ranked as the most popular London commuter hotspots have seen rents rise by a greater amount than the increase in train fares introduced this week
- Commuters living in Guildford, Reigate and Woking, which all saw annual rent costs fall by £127 (-0.73 per cent) in 2017, will be saving enough to offset the rail fare hikes.
In a week that saw train season ticket prices rise by an average of 3.6 per cent across the UK, the biggest increase to fares since 20131, Landbay’s Rental Index, powered by MIAC, reveals that commuters in almost half of London’s most popular commuter towns face a greater overall financial burden from growing rents than from train fares.
Of the capital’s 40 commuter belt hotspots, all found in the East or South East of England, 17 towns are being hit with a double blow, with extra annual expenditure on rail fares surpassed by spending on higher rents. Average rents in these 17 towns, rose by an average of £183 (1.68 per cent) in the year to December, while rail fares have jumped by an average of £142 (3.6 per cent). Combining annual rental and rail fare increases, commuters in these regions are facing a total additional outlay of £325 a year. Cambridge and Brighton have seen the greatest monetary rise in rents, £228 (2.06 per cent) and £202 (1.58 per cent) respectively, as rail fares in both regions rose by £172 and £163.
A further six towns in London’s commuter belt saw rents rise by more than one per cent in 2017, double that of the UK average. Luton, Hastings, Basingstoke, Ashford, Canterbury and Horsham have seen rents rise by an average of £146, almost as much as the average £166 increase in rail fares.
Commuters living in Guildford, Reigate and Woking, which all saw rents fall by £127 (-0.73 per cent) in 2017, will be saving enough to offset the rail fare hikes of £126, £99 and £113 respectively. Those in Aylesbury and High Wycombe (-£43) and Slough (-£4), have also made rent savings, but hardly enough to chip away at the £141, £124 and £91 increase to train fares.
There are now signs that demand for low-rent accommodation by long-distance commuters to London is pushing up rents in these areas. 31 of the 40 most popular commuter routes have seen rents rise by more than the UK average of 0.56 per cent, and by as much as 2.15 per cent in Southend on Sea and 2.06 per cent in Cambridgeshire. Only Slough (-0.04 per cent), Buckinghamshire (-0.31 per cent) and Surrey (-0.73 per cent) have seen rents fall, while Reading (0.03 per cent) and Bracknell Forest (0.05 per cent) have seen sub-average growth. This is in stark contrast to London, where they fell by -0.80 per cent in 2017. Nevertheless, with rents in the capital averaging £1,872 they remain more than twice the £765 across the rest of England.
John Goodall, CEO and founder of Landbay said:
“Commuters have seen their season ticket prices rise by more than £100 this week, the vast majority of whom are also looking at a double whammy of rent rises driven by greater tenant demand. At a time when rents in the capital are falling, some may even be considering a move into London, to be done with the train commute altogether.
“With inflation riding so high, rail fare growth shows no sign of slowing, and without a radical house building plan for purchase as well as purpose-built rental properties, rental price growth is expected to accelerate this year as well.”
UK Rental Index
|DECEMBER 17||YoY %||MoM %||Av. £|
|UK without London||1.29%||0.03%||759|
UK Rental Index by number of beds
|One bed||Two bed||Three bed|
|UK without London||1.26%||0.03%||599||1.10%||0.00%||714||1.47%||0.06%||827|
Rental Index and rail fare increases by commuter hotspot
|Season Ticket Prices||Average Rents|
|Station commuted from into London terminals||2017
|1||Brighton||4,536||4,699||£163||Brighton and Hove||12,834||13,036||1.58%||£202|
|3||Milton Keynes||5,028||5,209||£181||Milton Keynes||11,121||11,187||0.60%||£67|
|8||Southend Central||3,408||3,531||£123||Southend on Sea||8,881||9,071||2.15%||£191|
|25||St Albans City||3,380||3,502||£122||Hertfordshire||13,646||13,739||0.68%||£92|