Commuter towns near London saw a resurgence in demand for properties as the pandemic’s “Race for Space” encouraged homebuyers and movers to look further afield for property for sale. In fact, research revealed that the average distance from those looking to leave London for those purchasing a property increase to around 35 miles from 31 miles pre-pandemic, with first-time buyers moving the shortest distance, reflecting their need to still be able to commute into London for work.
Other factors have since elevated areas within the London commuter belt to the forefront of homebuyers mind due to providing more space for their money as well as a host of benefits, such as improved transport links and local amenities generated by urban regeneration that has dominated the South East in recent years – so much so that the region is one of our best places to buy property in the UK for homebuyers.
The rise in hybrid working changed homebuyer demands, causing a revival in demand for apartments for sale because of the proximity to local amenities and convenience they provide. Rightmove data shows that the interest in apartments overtook interest in terraced houses since the start of 2022, and there are clear signs that this will remain a key property market trend for 2023.
Apartments in commuter towns can often provide the best of both worlds – transport links to the capital and affordable property prices. Along with the accessibility of these markets, properties in commuter towns typically offer access to green areas and bigger spaces, which when combined with their accessibility and proximity to London, is everything homebuyers look for, particularly those who work from home.
So, if you’re looking for the best commuter towns near London in 2023, read on…
Property in Commuter Towns near London
When we talk about the ‘best’ commuter towns near London in 2023, there’s a number of factors we tend to consider. While some are more obvious for property investors, we’re also looking at it from the view of homebuyers and their needs. Key metrics are:
Property Prices – Homebuyer Demand – Regeneration – Career Opportunities – Transport Links
This allows us to build a complete picture of a location’s desirability while also highlighting the best commuter towns near London for homebuyers and property investors alike.
Nestled between London and Maidenhead, Slough sits directly on the Elizabeth Line which has revolutionised travel across the South East and helped put Slough on the map as a one of the best commuter towns near London. Its door-to-door connections to key employment hubs in the Capital are a massive bonus for those looking for more property for their money as well as fast commutes, with Paddington, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf all within an hour’s journey.
In recent years, Slough has and continues to benefit from ambitious regeneration schemes taking shape across the town. Most notably, the £3 billion of investment from Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) scheme that has already brought improved local leisure and sporting facilities, a 2000 capacity stadium and an award-winning cultural centre – The Curve – with plenty more projects still to come.
Forming part of the UK’s “Silicon Valley” and renowned for its trading estate that houses more than 500 businesses across numerous industries; Slough’s employment opportunities are endless. In fact, the commuter town has been voted the best place to work in the UK by Glassdoor for the third consecutive year in recent years, whilst a major Centre for Cities report revealed that Slough was in the top 10 for highest average salaries, boasting one of the highest average weekly wages in the UK.
In terms of local amenities, the Queensmere Observatory Shopping Centre provides residents with everything they need all under one roof. Bursting with household brands and that attract thousands of shoppers every day. With a redevelopment on the horizon, it’s expected to become a true destination for the town and could help boost footfall across the wider town, driving demand for property in Slough.
Find out more about living in Slough in our area guide.
Price Growth in Last Five Years:
Property for Sale in Slough
The Metalworks, Slough is situated less than 200 metres from Slough’s main train station and offers high-spec and spacious 1 and 2-bed apartments, with many including private terraces or balconies.
It’s just a 15-minute walk from the town centre which hosts plenty of local amenities for residents to enjoy. Slough is also located just a 15-minute drive from Windsor, renowned for its royal connections, historic castle and bustling town centre.
Find out more about apartments for sale in Slough, here.
Bracknell is another commuter town just outside London that has risen to prominence in recent years thanks to its £770 million regeneration scheme which has transformed the town centre into a truly exciting area for residents and visitors alike.
The Lexicon Shopping Centre, formed the basis of the wider regeneration scheme and helped elevate Bracknell to one of the best up and coming areas outside London, bringing more than 160 stores, a 12-screen cinema and an abundance of bars and restaurants to the town centre and going on to become one of Berkshire’s leading shopping destinations. In fact, the Lexicon won Development of the Year at the 2018 Thames Valley Property Awards and, as Covid restrictions eased, saw Bracknell enter the top three busiest towns in the country.
For those who value green spaces, Bracknell is home to over 150 areas which are perfect for nature lovers and offer a variety of walking and cycling trails as well as a host of local activities and events.
In terms of employment opportunities, Bracknell boasts an unemployment rate of just 2.8%, which is well below the UK national of 3.7%. Its position within the “UK’s Silicon Valley” provides plenty of job opportunities particularly in the technology sector, with 27 major tech companies in the area – the highest concentration outside the Capital itself – generating over £5.5 billion for the local economy.
Working in the capital? Bracknell’s easy access to key locations in Berkshire and across wider South East England makes it one of the best commuter towns near London. While you can enjoy more affordable property prices and new amenities, you can still reach your London office in under an hour.
For those searching for city-living amenities and job opportunities in the South at a fraction of the price of surrounding hotspots, Bracknell is ideal. With further growth on the horizon, Bracknell is a prime example of how properties in commuter towns can benefit from connectivity and regeneration.
Find out more about the town in our Bracknell Area Guide.
Exp. Rental Growth by ’25:
The Grand Exchange
Final Off-Plan Units Remaining
- Off-Plan Apartments – Estimated completion 2023
- 181 spacious apartments
- High-spec studios, 1 and 2-bedroom apartments for sale
- Resident-only access to amenities such as a gym, spa treatment rooms and private garden area
- Entrance lobby with 24-hour concierge
- Prime location within the London Commuter Belt with hassle-free travel to the capital and Reading
- At the centre of a £770 million large-scale regeneration project changing the landscape of Bracknell
Home to Windsor castle, the town’s connections to the Royal family isn’t the only selling point of the area. Boasting several racecourses, a shopping centre and one of the UK’s few Legoland resorts, this Berkshire town has something for everyone of all ages.
Not only do these amenities make Windsor perfect for families, but the town also has a strong network of schools. From St. George’s Primary School, to Eton College, the town has housed multiple prime ministers and British leaders.
The town’s regeneration scheme is further bolstering employment options for residents, while delivering new transport links. The Windsor Link Railway has already connected Slough to London Waterloo, with the Second Phase of the project aiming to broaden Windsor’s reach to Heathrow, the West and even further across South East England.
Looking beyond Windsor’s connections to the British monarchy, the town is a great area of Berkshire in its own right. The connections across the UK makes it an ideal location for homebuyers and young professionals while the amenities, equally, position the town as a family hub. And with an average property price of £678,423, Windsor demonstrates how properties in commuter towns reap the rewards of these invaluable links.
Arguably the most well-known area of West Berkshire, Reading has built its reputation on several different factors. From hosting the Reading Festival, to housing one of the UK’s leading universities, this town is established within Berkshire’s profile.
In keeping with the wider regeneration projects occurring across the South East, Reading is also being transformed. Station Hill is at the heart of the town’s revitalisation, which, when finished, will bring up to 625,000 sq. ft of office space, 1,300 new homes, 95,000 sq. ft of retail space as well as a two-acre outdoor piazza for leisure activities and local events.
In terms of employment, Reading is renowned for having the fastest growing economy in the Thames Valley over the past 20 years, with finance giants Deloitte, PwC and EY having offices in the Berkshire town. Recent research revealed that in 2022, Reading topped the list of UK towns and cities with the most job opportunities with 2,460 job listings per 100,000 people, beating much bigger cities such as Manchester.
Much like other key locations in the wider South East, Reading has a variety of transport links, with The Elizabeth Line beginning from Reading’s main train station. Being just 25 miles from London, you can expect direct access to Heathrow and Gatwick.
Basingstoke is the largest town in Hampshire, with a rich heritage rooted beyond the Roman times. Aside from its impressive history, Basingstoke is renowned for having one of the best shopping centres in the South – Festival Place Shopping Centre. It’s the perfect spot for residents to relax, socialise, work, eat and shop all in one place.
Brimming with over 140 top retail brands, over 20 different restaurants, a 10 screen Vue cinema as well as nearby sports facilities spread over seven floors, there’s plenty of activities for residents to enjoy and this has earned Basingstoke the recognition as an up-and-coming area outside of London for 2023.
Much like many commuter towns near London, Basingstoke has an extensive transport network that provides easy access to both the Capital and the wider South East region. The Basingstoke Transport Strategy was introduced in 2019 to maximise the town’s accessibility and strategic transport connections, building on the numerous trains running to central London and Heathrow – both just 45 minutes away.
The town also has a strong reputation of being a ‘tech corridor’, in addition to housing major brands like Sony, Barclays and AXA Wealth. A strong employment base, great shopping and even better restaurants, what more could you ask for?
Stevenage is a small town in Hertfordshire, just 29 miles north of London. Despite being a compact town, it is in the midst of an ambitious 20-year “Stevenage Even Better” regeneration project that aims to bring new shops, restaurants, homes and improved transport and connectivity links to the town.
Starting in 2019, the project is in full-swing and residents can expect existing retail hubs to be revitalised with a selection of new brands and new, vibrant public spaces. The main train station is expected to be expanded to provide better road and rail links to key areas on the capital and the wider South East region.
While Stevenage is within commutable distance to the capital, and is just shy of A1 junctions, Stevenage is in the process of increasing its employment opportunities. The town itself has supported almost 50 start-up companies within the centre, and the ongoing regeneration schemes will add additional work spaces for both existing and future businesses. In turn, this will likely drive more jobs to the town in the years to come, putting Stevenage in the ranks for the best commuter towns near London.
If you’re looking for a quieter alternative to the hustle and bustle of London, St. Albans could be the city for you. This cathedral city is steeped in history, with a picturesque castle at every turn.
As well as street markets and museums, living in St. Albans means that you’ll never be short of things to do with your weekends. But for your Monday-Friday routine, the city’s convenient spot on the commuter belt means you can get to your London office in just 20 minutes.
The city’s two train stations and regular bus services also offer direct links to two of the UK’s major airports – Gatwick and Luton. But if driving is more your thing, Luton is situated close to the M1, M25, as well as the start of the M10. With the town centre on the rise and its undeniable transport links, St. Albans is growing in popularity.
Offering transport links, growing employment opportunities and a plethora of amenities, these locations are some of the best commuter towns near London. These are all key components for prospective homeowners, which makes St. Albans a great alternative to the Capital.