Edinburgh workers ‘better off’ commuting by rail and living out of city

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Workers with jobs in Edinburgh city centre are better off living out of town and catching the train to the office, a report has revealed.

House prices in places just 30 minutes rail travel time from Edinburgh – such as Dunbar, Falkirk and Livingston – are, on average, 36 per cent lower than in the centre of the city, according to new research by Bank of Scotland.

The average house price of £243,200 in Edinburgh is £86,371 higher than a number of commuter towns just 30 minutes away on the train such as North Berwick, Dunbar, Falkirk, Livingston and Bathgate. This compares with the average £1,700 annual cost of a half-hour commute to the capital.

Towns which are around an hour away, however, such as Dunblane, Motherwell and Kirkcaldy, are also cheaper, but slightly less so at just 32 per cent less than the cost of a city home, compared to 36 per cent in towns which are closer by.

Graham Blair, mortgages director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Distance from work is often one of the deciding factors for purchasing a home. It is generally true that a 30-minute commute can provide a large financial saving in terms of lower house prices.

“This is the case with most towns surrounding Edinburgh and Glasgow, but not Aberdeen where you need to commute around an hour to benefit from lower house prices.”

He added: “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.”

The study, which looked at the costs of commuting to versus living in three of Scotland’s biggest cities, found that towns near Glasgow are also better value for money – offering properties that are typically 13 per cent lower than in the city.

In Aberdeen, however, commuters would have to travel for more than an hour before they could benefit from lower house prices than in the city. The average house price in Aberdeen is close to £195,234, and commuters with a rail journey of approximately 30 minutes away in Inverurie and Insch, houses are, on average, a fifth more expensive than in the Granite City – whilst a rail pass costs £1,828 per year.

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, £22,086 lower – with an average price of £148,614 compared to almost £171,000 in Glasgow. This compares with an average annual rail pass costing close to £1,863.

However, for those commuting from some towns approximately 60 minutes away from Glasgow – such as Lockerbie, Ayr and Perth – properties are actually £46,000 higher than in Scotland’s biggest city. Coupled with a longer journey and an annual rail pass costing £3,155, these commuters might be financially better off living closer to their place of work.