Is it always cheaper to live outside London?

Is it always cheaper to live outside London

This blog is general information only. It isn’t advice, and isn’t an insight into the views of TSB or any of our Partners.

You might be saving thousands on your mortgage but if you're spending the same amount on travel, is moving still such an attractive idea?

If you’re finding it hard to manage your finances while living in the capital, you’re not alone. You might even be tempted to join some of the people who are moving to more affordable locations. Figures show that, in 2016, nearly 300,000 people relocated from the capital to another part of the UK – more than the nearly 200,000 people who moved to London. But what should you take into consideration before following suit?

Is it always cheaper to live outside London

Where will you live?

Are you considering heading just outside London, into the country, to another city or even the coast? Every area has its pros and cons, and the best spot will be entirely dependent on your individual circumstances.

With house and rental prices in the capital often substantially higher than elsewhere, moving may seem an attractive option. However, potential savings range drastically depending on where you’re looking.

Chatham is currently at the top end of the affordability bracket for the rental market: people in a two or three-bedroom property within London zone six could save more than £8,000 a year by moving here. At the other end of the scale is Oxford, with savings of less than £2,000 a year.

It’s a similar situation for home owners. Chatham shows considerable savings, with annual mortgages coming in at nearly £13,000 lower than London; moving to Oxford could save you around £2,000 a year.

However, although these figures may be tempting at first glance, you don’t want your decision to be based entirely on potential rent or mortgage savings.

What will your new commute look like?

If you’re currently living in London, you’ll be used to navigating trains, buses and tubes to get you to and from work. Although this can be frustrating at times, particularly during rush hour, it’s still a fairly reliable way to travel, whatever time of the day or night. And if all else fails you can always get a taxi.

By moving out of London, you’ll likely be signing up to a longer commute and a less frequent service. How will this affect your lifestyle? If you work long hours, have time-specific commitments (at home or work) or live miles from the nearest train station, you’ll need to factor this into your decision.

You also need to consider the cost of travel. Find out what your transport costs will be – such as annual rail tickets and parking at the station – and take this into account. You might be saving thousands on your mortgage but if you’re spending the same amount on travel and going to be commuting for substantially longer every day, is moving still such an attractive idea?
Don’t forget to allow for annual travel price increases as well. Regulated rail fares went up by 3.6% at the start of this year: you’ll need to allow for these incremental rises in your budget.

Have you checked out the local amenities?

What is there to do locally? If you have an active social life in London and this is important to you, will you be able to replicate it where you’re thinking of moving? If you need to travel back into the city to see friends and family, how much will this cost and what are the restrictions?

If you have a family, don’t forget to look at the quality of local schools.

Will you have a better quality of life?

It’s not just a financial decision: fresher air, fewer people and a bigger house may be equally important deciding factors. Perhaps you’re looking for more space for the kids to grow up in or somewhere beautiful to relax every weekend. Quality of life means different things to different people, so why not weigh up the pros and cons to see which option will make you and your family happiest in the long run.

Making the move out of London can be exciting and daunting in equal measures. However, without proper research into the area, commuting costs and time, and how it will affect your quality of life, you may end up wishing you’d stayed where you were. Your first step should be to look at your finances and work out your options, then you can decide whether a move is right for you.  


Everything we publish on Straightforward Money is provided as general information only. It isn’t advice, and isn’t an insight into the views of TSB or any of our Partners.

Please think about getting independent financial advice if you want help with your personal situation.

We try really hard to make sure everything’s accurate when we publish it.  But the information can sometimes become out of date.  For example we might link out to sites that we like or think might be helpful, but that link may have been replaced by the other site.

Links to external content are provided for information purposes only; they’re not a TSB recommendation of any brand or service.

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