London Blog

Should I leave London?

Are you in or are you out? Despite what you might initially think, it’s not a question regarding the recent EU referendum. That’s done and dusted, and if you voted, whether you chose to leave or stay, we’re very much out. Our ‘in or out’ question is more specific to London’s fair capital, and hasn’t received quite the same coverage but will still shape many people’s future. That question is: it is time to say goodbye to London?

House prices continue to increase in the capital, and the average price now is around £500,000. The knock-on effect of rising house prices has meant fewer people can afford to buy, which has led to more rentals and an increase in rents. This has left many considering the idea of upping sticks and moving out of the Big Smoke.

Before you panic, leaving what is potentially one of the most exciting cities in the world doesn’t mean saying goodbye forever. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. With transport options constantly being upgraded (Elizabeth Line, anyone), there are some towns on the outskirts of London that provide access to the capital within 30 minutes.

As well as the potential to save a penny or two, there are other benefits to leaving the city. Despite London’s popularity and 24/7 entertainment, the growing feeling is that it has somewhat lost its soul over the years, with the 8-million residents becoming more isolated from each other.

Smaller towns on the outskirts tend to have a greater sense of community, which is probably good news if you’re part of a young family, or a single professional who wants to be more involved with local events.

If you do decide to take the plunge and leave the city, the next question is: where do you go? Fear not, as we’ve listed a few towns we think will appeal to your living needs, yet still offer access back into the capital quicker than you can say ‘cor blimey, guv’nor.’

Luton: With commutes into London taking less than 30 minutes, and average rental prices for two bedroom properties around £846pcm, Luton is the first choice for many leaving London. Oh, and with Luton airport just minutes’ away, all that money you’ll save on rent can be used for a relaxing holiday in sunny Spain!

Braintree: Forget the over-the-top TV show, this really is Essex. If you want to live in a town with direct links to Liverpool Street, a selection of restaurants and shops, and one bedroom properties costing around £665pcm, then it’s time to brush up on your Essex lingo. Otherwise you might have to ‘chip off’ and consider somewhere else.

Gravesend: Despite not having the most appealing name, Gravesend has a lot going for it. For starters, this Kent town is just a 24-minute commute into London and has two bedroom rental properties averaging £862pcm. It’s also apparently the resting place for Pocahontas. The real one that is, not the Disney character.

Crawley: With a commute time of around 40 minutes, this West Sussex town combines modern shops with quaint countryside pubs. Young families gasping at the rental hikes in London will be happy to know the average price for a three bedroom property in Crawley is just £1,295pcm.

Reading: Out of all the commuter towns, Reading arguably comes closest to replicating the buzz of London. Located in Berkshire, it offers plenty to do for residents, from a huge shopping centre called The Oracle to a good selection of independent shops and bars, as well as excellent nightlife. Average rental prices for one bedroom properties are around £765pcm, while commutes into London take just 31 minutes. From 2019, the Elizabeth Line will be accessible from Reading, giving residents an even greater choice of transport options.

August 3, 2016 rentonomy Topical