With a high number of businesses embracing home-working and reducing the number of days required in the office, many city workers are willing to live further away from their place of work and relocate to neighbouring towns.
New research by card payment provider, Dojo, has analysed UK commuter towns and their nearby cities to reveal which have prospered the most from January 2020 to March 2021. To investigate this, Dojo gathered data on the following 5 indicators of each location:
- Property market - The change in property prices and number of sales in the area
- Job vacancies - The number of job openings in the area
- Salaries - The average wage of employees
-Footfall - The transit station, workplace and residential movement detected on Google Maps
Each data point was then scored and compared to the previous year to discover the percentage increase in growth for towns and cities across the UK.
Crawley, with a population of 112,409, is ranked tenth in the list worth a 0.24% change. Exeter leads the way with a 17.9% change.
Other Sussex towns also feature in the list with Eastbourne in second place (15.88%) and Worthing third with 4.62%.
Eastbourne is the second fastest-growing UK commuter town
Eastbourne ranks as the 2nd fastest growing commuter town, increasing by 15.88% during the pandemic. Eastbourne is an 86 minute train journey from the center of the capital. Its affordable housing and tranquil seaside setting helped it grow during the last 12 months.
This growth increased average house prices from £242,000 to £261,000. The town also saw a 40.95% increase in property sales from January to November last year.
Worthing is the third fastest-growing UK commuter town during the Covid-19 pandemic
Worthing saw a 4.26% growth throughout 2020, making it the third most successful commuter town in the report. Many flocks to Worthing due to the town's well-developed transport links - the town is just 25 minutes by train into Brighton, and 75 minutes into London.
The town saw a comfortable increase in its average salary from £32,274 to £35,852. Property sales also increased from 140 in January 2020 to 174 in November 2020.
The property market wasn't the only growth in Worthing. The average salary rose by 11.09% from £32,274.00 in April 2020 to £35,852.00 in March 2021. Job vacancies in the region also increased by 58.88% despite the pandemic.
Exeter revealed as the most successful commuter city
Out of all the commuter locations, Exeter grew the most during the pandemic, by 17.94%. The region has seen a substantial influx of Londoners deciding to commute from Devon. House prices rose from £263,141 to £278,158 between January 2020 and January 2021. Residential sales also increased from 130 in the month of January 2020 to 140 in November 2020. Job prospects in the region also boomed, going from 1,245 vacancies pre-pandemic to 3,278, with a healthy average salary of £36,199.
Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insights at Dojo said: "During the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the interest in commuter towns has seen a substantial increase.
“With working from home here to stay and less time needing to be spent in the office, many city dwellers have decided to relocate from built up urban areas. Despite a longer commute time when venturing into the office, the benefits of generally cheaper and more spacious properties in commuter towns has attracted many to these areas.
“Despite fluctuations and instability, the coronavirus pandemic has brought growth to new businesses and has helped consumers appreciate the value of independent businesses. With more people now choosing commuter towns as their place of work and leisure, small businesses in the area will enjoy an uptick in footfall.
“Now lockdown is easing, businesses could be set to boom from customers determined to make the most of rediscovered freedoms.”