Monthly Archives: May 2011

Calculating the commute: to live near or far

For the past couple of years we’ve explored the Chilterns and discovered a growing list of delightful towns and villages, where we could quite easily see ourselves living when we upscale in a few years time. This has led me to wonder: just how realistic and affordable it would be to live in these places? Would the various commuter factors make it impossibly expensive or impractical, or could owning a home in the Chilterns be a distinct reality?

I wanted to find out whether it’s more cost-effective to live in a pricier but easily commutable town or to live further out where property is cheaper but possibly have to drive to and park at the local station. To find this out I put together a spreadsheet comparing house prices and commuting costs in each of our favourite towns and villages.

This looked at:

  • annual mortgage payments for the typical price of properties that meet our house criteria
  • annual season ticket for me to travel to work on the train and tube
  • cost of parking for a year at a station in cases where I’d have to drive to the station, plus an estimated £1,000 annual cost for running a second car
  • petrol costs for the year of Tara driving to her work in outer London, based on mileage at 13p/mile

What the figures say

There was a £5,964 per year difference between the cheapest and most expensive towns. Far and away the most expensive on our list is Chalfont St Giles, due to it having some of the highest house prices and requiring a second car to drive to the station, which in turn has expensive parking. Continue reading

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