It's now cheaper commute to London by plane than live in the capital

New research has revealed that it's now cheaper to commute by air to work in London from other UK cities than to buy a property in the capital.

Friday, 7th October 2016, 11:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 3:35 pm

A study by online estate agent eMoov found that of the eight cities with direct flight links to London, seven of them offered a cost saving over the buying in Capital, even taking into account the cost of flights and hotel accommodationn.

Glasgow, Belfast and Manchester proved to offer the biggest savings, with annual differences of £11,846, £11,547 and £8,564 respectively over paying a mortgage on a London property.

To come up with this startling revelation, eMoov compared the average house price in the capital with UK cities offering a direct flight service into London. They then worked out the total cost of a weekly commute, flying on the Monday morning and returning on the Friday evening, plus four nights’ accommodation either at or close by to the relevant airport, when booked six months in advance.

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eMoov then divided the number of working days in 2017(252 minus 22 days’ holiday), by five to find the number of working weeks in the year (46), before multiplying the cost of weekly travel and accommodation by this figure.

Finally, eMoov worked out the average mortgage cost after deposit and the annual payment for both London and the other locations, subtracting the cost of travel and accommodation from the difference, to show which cities UK homeowners would be better of living in and commuting to the capital by plane, rather than buying in London.

With an average house price of just £155,195 the annual mortgage saving in Glasgow compared to the capital is £21,275. The cost of a weekly round trip into London is just £52.98 via Ryanair for an 80-minute flight, with accommodation bringing the total to just £204.98 a week, or £9,429 a year.

It would take 47 years of travelling at this cost before the deficit between the average property price in London and Glasgow was bridged.

From Belfast, a year’s worth of travel and accommodation will set you back just over £8,000 and the annual mortgage saving fall just short of £20,000 when compared to London, resulting in an annual saving of £11,547 for another 80-minute commute into London.

Manchester is the best bet for those wanting to remain in England and third biggest saving across all eight of the cities researched. At £162,970 it’s home to the second lowest average house price and a BA flight will take you to Heathrow in just 65 minutes, with travel and accommodation costing £12,334 annually. When subtracted from the annual mortgage saving when compared to a London property, Manchester homeowners would save £8,564 a year.

In only one of the eight cities with direct flights to London would homeowners be worse off by commuting in by plane. With an average house price of £259,221 the cost of a mortgage after deposit in Exeter is £233,298 and, when compared to London, the annual mortgage saving is £16,234.

However, the return flight from Exeter to London City Airport is the second most expensive of the eight cities (£115) and the cost of staying around London City Airport is also the most expensive of the lot (£320 a week). As a result, the total cost hits £20,055 a year, cancelling out the mortgage saving and seeing homeowners in Exeter £3,820 worse off.

eMoov CEO and dounder, Russell Quirk, said: “With London property prices continuing to push aspirational buyers further and further out of the capital, there’s no telling where we might be in ten years’ time in terms of the commute people will consider if prices continue to climb from the inside out.

“Luckily the increasing improvement of transport infrastructure across the nation has made commuting larger distances more manageable. We’re not saying commuting by plane is an option for everyone and there are other time requirements to consider in terms of checking in on time. However, as with all new commutes you soon adapt and if it was a choice between 80-minutes stuck on the Central line at rush-hour, five hours on a train from Cornwall, or an hour or so gliding through the clouds, I know which one I would pick.

“When you also consider that you could live in the likes of Glasgow, of Manchester, where the cost of living and buying is dramatically lower, but still earn a London wage, it seems even more attractive.”

The cities offering a cheaper commute than living in London

City Saving

Glasgow £11,846

Belfast £11,537

Manchester £8,564

Leeds £7,670

Edinburgh £7,487

Newcastle £7,448

Newquay £5,498