Scotland's commuters on the right track
19 October 2012
Rail commuters to Edinburgh are typically financially much better off catching the train rather than living close to their place of work, according to new research by Bank of Scotland.
Many commuters from Dunblane, Glasgow and Motherwell may make a 60 minute train journey - with an average annual rail cost of around £2,700 - but they benefit from a house price that is, on average, £75,000 (37%) lower than living close to their place of work in the Scottish capital. Moreover, homebuyers can get more for their money outside Edinburgh due to the lower price of property per square metre outside the capital.
House prices in places just 30 minutes rail travel time from Edinburgh - such as Dunbar, Falkirk and Livingston - are, on average, 34% (almost £67,500) lower than in the centre of the city. This compares with the average £1,500 annual cost of a half-hour commute to the capital.
Commuters who live around 30 minutes rail travel time from Glasgow - such as those in Linlithgow, Stirling, Greenock and Motherwell - benefit from house prices that are, on average, £6,000 (5%) lower – with an average price of £121,000 compared to almost £127,000 in Glasgow. This compares with an average annual rail pass costing close to £1,600. The difference in property prices may, however, be outweighed by the rail travel costs if someone commutes for more than a few years.
Those commuting from some towns approximately an hour away from Glasgow - such as Edinburgh, Ayr and Perth - have an average house price (£185,000) that is £58,000 (46%) higher than in Glasgow. Coupled with a longer journey, and an annual rail pass costing close to £3,200, many of these commuters might be financially better off living closer to their place of work.
Commuters to Aberdeen often pay more for a house than they would to live in the city
Whilst the average house price in Aberdeen is close to £172,000, commuters with a rail journey of approximately 15 minutes from Stonehaven, for example, have an average price that is a third higher (£49,000) at £221,000 and an annual rail pass costing £1,150. Thirty minutes away in Inverurie and Montrose, houses are, on average, 15% more expensive than in the Granite City – whilst a rail pass will cost between £1,300 and £2,700 per year.
Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, commented:
"Distance from work is often the deciding factor for purchasing a home. It is generally true that the further you commute, the larger are the financial savings made in terms of lower house prices. This is the case with towns surrounding Edinburgh and Glasgow, but not Aberdeen. A major consideration for commuting to leading cities, such as these, is that the typically higher income that can be earned tends to go much further in surrounding towns.”