• 04th Apr 22

London commuter belt rental hot spots

More choice and increased supply of rental homes are coming to London’s commuter belt thanks to an influx of Build to Rent developments. We look at the benefits of living on London’s fringe.

What is the commuter belt?

The London commuter belt has no fixed boundary but can be described as the metropolitan area surrounding London from which it is possible to commute to work in the capital. Any town or city in the South East and East of England can be included although the most desired areas will have direct train links or major road routes into London. The commuter belts include the home counties of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Kent, and Essex.

What’s behind the demand?

Over the last 20 years, the price of property and cost of living in the capital has soared, leading people to consider different locations. Without doubt, the impact of the pandemic and the opportunity for hybrid or work from home, has once again changed the landscape of what people want and need from their home.

Changes to London life

Research suggests that up to 300,000 people left the city last year because of the pandemic. London’s office occupancy rate is nowhere close to pre-pandemic levels, which is also represented by the fact that TfL passenger numbers were at 42% in December 2021. As a result, city centre living has changed. With fewer people required to work in the capital daily, people have opted to move into the commuter belt locations for value for money and quality of life.

Supply issues

A new player in the Build to Rent sector says there is a chronic supply issue in parts of London’s commuter belt. Star Living is the Build to Rent part of developer Strawberry Star Group and has recently announced its first project in Harlow, Essex, comprising a block of 163 flats. A second phase will launch soon with 564 flats. The company is looking to launch more sites over the next 12 months, focusing on commuter grown towns with a high proportion of young professionals and low supply of private rentals.

More choice for tenants

Developers are considering the future needs and live/work trends that give tenants the sort of properties that they want to rent. With more choice and better supply in areas across the commuter belt, the focus is on creating an excellent customer journey from reservation to end of tenancy. Star Living is looking at ways to make this process as smooth as possible with digital concierge, maintenance, parcel storage, flexible co-working and multi-purpose rooms, shared roof terrace and ancillary services such as laundry, dry cleaning, and housekeeping. Pets will be allowed, and contacts will be flexible.

Appeal of London’s commuter towns

According to CBRE, people move away from the capital into the commuter belt to achieve a better work-life balance. They are looking for locations with convenient amenities and plenty of open green spaces. Value for money and good travel times into London are also high on the agenda as well as areas that already have an established identity.

Where to rent in the commuter belt

If you have decided to take the step to move out of the capital, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Sevenoaks, Kent – is one of the most in-demand areas and a prime example of a commuter town with regular trains running from Sevenoaks to central London taking just 22 minutes.

Redhill, Surrey – with excellent transport links with direct trains to London in around 30 minutes together with good road access to the M23, M25 and Gatwick Airport, this is a popular place to live. It is also the headquarters for large multinational companies, which has established it as a business hub. 

Woking, Surrey – just 20 miles from central London, this attractive town boasts frequent trains into the capital. The area is a cultural hub with various attractions including a theatre, museum and the town regularly hosts international exhibitions and food festivals. There is also a large shopping district that includes bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. There’s plenty of green spaces including the picturesque Goldworth Park.

High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire – located halfway between London and Oxford, this is a well-connected area with fast rail links to London and Birmingham. A picturesque town, there are also plans for various regeneration projects across its town centre.








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