The London Commuter Belt is one of the hottest property investment spots in the UK right now, motivated by incredible job opportunities, travel links and an expensive London market.
Property prices in London have had their first major price decline since 2009, which has led to the focus shifting to properties on the commuter belt. With smart-new amenities and leisure spaces alongside significantly lower living costs, commuter towns have become an increasingly popular prospect for both investors
The highest rental returns exist in the outermost parts of London and its environs. You can achieve up to 6% yields here which is considerably higher than Central London where the rental yields lie below 2.5%
When demand is high in commuter belt locations it helps to drive commercial growth, especially in those towns that have regeneration projects ongoing. Staines, Reading and High Wycombe are three of the most popular towns which present excellent value for both second homes with excellent schools and shopping amenities as well as high rental returns and capital growth.
Staines is one of the areas that is seeing high growth because of its close proximity to Heathrow Airport where 78,000 local jobs are available and with the 3rd runway being built by 2026 another 40,000 jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships will be forthcoming.
With the expected new Staines Light Railway coming together, driverless trains will take commuters to Heathrow Airport in 9 minutes, meaning that demand for property in Staines-upon-Thames is likely to increase significantly over the coming years.
It’s a 35-minute journey into Central London which is faster than getting from some zone 4/5 locations in London!
Having such an iconic river as River Thames running through the town has always made it a popular location, and currently it is under market value in comparison to other areas on The River Thames, so there is potential to invest and achieve higher Capital Growth over a period of years.
The Staines Business Improvement District is bringing major investment to the area, including major headquarters for BP, Bupa and Centrica. Staines is also part of the Gigabit testing for superfast internet, so likely to encourage even more businesses to the area.
Staines has some of the top schools and universities in the area.
Reading is situated only 30 minutes from London by train. The new Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) is also set to open its doors in Reading at the end of 2019, meaning those travelling into London will be able to get right across the city without changing trains. This investment is likely to boost the area’s popularity among those looking to commute into London, which is great news for property investors in Reading.
The University of Reading is internationally renowned, attracting 19,000 students from more than 150 countries every year. This is a huge footfall in the town, attracting widespread investment as well as job creation, and makes the area a bustling place to be.
With a high proportion of university students staying on in the town after graduating, as well as graduates from elsewhere moving to the city because of its location and job opportunities, this spells major opportunity for those wanting to invest in an area with a very high rental demand.
Reading is one of the place in the UK to do business, beating major locations such as Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow! Reading also has the highest wages outside London. More than £7m has also been invested in the Reading Central Business Improvement district over the past 10 years, with more planned for the future. It has a strong technology sector and holds top place for the city most likely to grow the most in the next few years.
Nestled between the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty and Chiltern Hills ,Reading offers the best of both worlds for urban dwellers wanting beautiful countryside on their doorstep. This can be a huge selling point for those leaving London for a better quality of life or wanting a second home.
3. High Wycombe:
High Wycombe has been named the UK’s number one commuter hotspot ahead of fellow Buckinghamshire towns Amersham, Gerrards Cross and Staines.
A new study compared almost 100 towns in terms of commute times, rail fares and house prices for those working in London and looking to set up home away from the capital.
With a journey time of just 30 minutes into London and average house prices of £346,197, High Wycombe was identified as the standout location for commuters.
With excellent rail links and large family houses available at a fraction of London prices, it is no surprise High Wycombe has become such a strong commuter hotspot.
The town’s property market has been booming in recent times, with house prices and rents heading upwards. Buy to let investors should consider investing in property in High Wycombe. Tenant demand is pushing rents up and helping investors to achieve an excellent rental income, as well as potentially significant capital growth in the coming years.