Rising house prices are helping homeowners to pay for their annual train fare in a matter of days.

What's the latest?

Soaring house prices have earned homeowners in some commuter belt areas enough to recoup the cost of their annual train fare – in just a week.

The average property in Solihull, the West Midlands, jumped by £34,695, or 10.7% in value last year to stand at £341,470.

It means that homeowners in the town can use the capital gains to cover the cost of their annual £655 commute to Birmingham in seven days alone.

Unsurprisingly, homeowners in commuter hot spots in the south east also fare particularly well in the research by Zoopla.

Why is it happening?

House prices have been pushed up by a mismatch between supply and demand.

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the number of homes for sale hit a new record low last November after dropping for 10 months running.

Home in Solihull.

Who does it affect?

Rising house prices impact both prospective buyers and homeowners alike.

Lawrence Hall of Zoopla explained: "While our research may soften the blow of increased rail fares for home-owning commuters, the price rises we’re seeing do make it harder for those looking to take their first step onto the property ladder.

"But with government Help-to-Buy schemes still in place and the promise of new homes to ease demand, both buyers and sellers should have at least some reason to be upbeat as we go into 2016."

Sounds interesting. What's the background?

"While our research may soften the blow of increased rail fares for home-owning commuters, the price rises make it harder for those looking to take their first step onto the property ladder."

Surbiton commuters pay £1,800 for a yearly train ticket into central London. And since house prices in the south west London suburb increased by an average £57,813, or 10.7% last year to £567,250, it will take homeowners 11 days for the capital gains to pay for their annual commute.

The top five commuter hot spots also include Tandridge in Surrey, and Radyr and Barry, both in Wales.

Flats in Surbiton.

However, commuters further up north are not seeing as much benefit. Dunfermline homeowners travelling to Edinburgh will need to work 155 days before the increased value of their property will cover their annual train fare.

Meanwhile, homeowners commuting from Falkirk to Edinburgh, and Glossop to Sheffield will take 144 days (nearly 21 weeks) and 129 days (more than 18 weeks) respectively for capital gains to pay for their yearly travel bill.

The commuter belt hot spots where rising house prices will be the fastest to match annual travel fares.

 Town/city  Commute Time to pay for the annual commute (days)
 Solihull  Solihull to Birmingham
 Surbiton  Surbiton to London 11 
 Radyr  Radyr to Cardiff 13 
 Tandridge  Tandridge to London 14 
 Barry  Barry to Cardiff 15 
 Epsom  Epsom to London 17 
 Penarth  Penarth to Cardiff 17.5 
 Bath  Bath to Bristol 18 
 Esher  Esher to London 18 

Top 3 takeaways

  • Rising UK house prices have earned Solihull homeowners enough to pay for their annual commute in just one week.
  • The top five commuter hot spots also include Tandridge in Surrey, and Radyr and Barry, both in Wales.
  • Property owners further north don't fare so well, with some needing 144 days (nearly 21 weeks) to pay for their annual train ticket. 

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