We recently moved out of London and bought a flat in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. As you would expect, we got a lot more for our money in Buckinghamshire (where the average house price is £396k), versus if we had bought in London (where the average property price is £477k). Meanwhile, and on the downside, our commuting costs have increased a lot. Property prices range quite a bit from town to town in Bucks. It turns out the train ticket prices do too! So I decided to look into which Buckinghamshire towns are the cheapest to live in and commute to London from.
|Town||Monthly Season Ticket||+ London Underground|
Source: National Rail (2020 prices)
For the purpose of this article, I will focus on the season tickets plus London Underground prices. Since I believe the vast majority of commuters take a tube to their office, upon arriving in London.
You can see there is no such thing as a cheap commute from any Buckinghamshire town to London. That said, there is a £198 difference between the most expensive (Bletchley) and cheapest (Amersham and Chesham) monthly train season ticket. This disparity is due to the different train companies that operate across Buckinghamshire. It is worth noting that Amersham and Chesham are the cheapest commuter towns in the County. This is because they are part of the TfL network. Both stations are found in zone 9, at the end of the Metropolitan line. There are a lot of stops and it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel to London Liverpool Street from these stations.
Which are the cheapest and most expensive Bucks towns in which to buy a property?
|Town||Average price paid (Jan 2020)*||Monthly mortgage repayments**|
It is not overly useful to look at commuting costs in isolation. Indeed, we need to look at the total living cost associated with living in each of these commuter towns. To this end, I have looked up the average sale prices of properties sold in each town over the last 12-months to May 2020 (source: Zoopla). Based on these figures, I have added the cost of a monthly season ticket (including tube) to what I have calculated to be the average monthly mortgage repayment cost in each town. Note: these calculations are based on a 25-year term repayment mortgage at a 3% interest rate.
Which are cheapest commuter towns in Buckinghamshire, overall?
As you can see below, at just shy of £7k / month, Beaconsfield is by far the most expensive Buckinghamshire town to live and commute from. Despite being the most expensive season ticket, Bletchley comes out as the cheapest Buckinghamshire London-commuter town. This is thanks to its relatively cheap property prices, with the average property sale coming in at £279k over the last 12 months.
What is the quality of life like in High Wycombe?
With regards to what these Buckinghamshire towns have to offer by way of amenities and quality of life, I can only really speak for High Wycombe. I have to say, I am a big fan! Surrounded by the Chiltern Hills, it’s a hilly, largely green town. High Wycombe has a large park called the Rye close to the centre with the River Wye running through it. There are numerous National Trust properties with nice grounds to its peripheral. These make for great walks. Despite the high cost of property, High Wycombe is not an overly affluent town. As a result, the shopping centre has a range of affordable shops. I really enjoy living in a socially diverse town.
Having spent some time in the past in Milton Keynes, this is the only other Bucks town I am familiar with. Milton Keynes is quite well known and benefits from some of the cheapest property in the county. I would say High Wycombe is very different. With a population of 125k, High Wycombe is about half the size of Milton Keynes. Of course, it has a lot more history than the new town of Milton Keynes, which was only created in the 1950s. Overall, I would say it a better place to live than Milton Keynes for only around £400 / month more on average.