People outside of the capital are happier

Michael Lloyd

January 2, 2019

Some 31% of people living in the country consider themselves ‘mostly happy’ compared to only 25% in the city, Yopa’s London Commuter Guide has found.

From 2 January, there’s a 3.1% increase in rail fares, even with this rise in commuting costs. The guide revealed St Albans, Luton and Birmingham are amongst the top commuter towns for 2019, so in spite of rising rail fares and a longer commute, a move out of the capital could see you better off.

Ben Poynter, chief executive of Yopa, said: “Londoners often ask themselves whether they should live close to work or move out of town for more space and a better quality of life. But, with so many factors to consider, people often give up before they even start.

“Help is at hand, Yopa, working with its local agents, have launched The London Commuter Guide 2019 which helps homeowners easily compare different areas by the metrics that are important to them.

“The 2019 guide takes into account common worries such as transport costs, crime rates, commute times, pollution levels and more, exactly the things that our survey revealed were most important to homeowners.

“I’d urge people to investigate new locations they might not have considered before, so they can enjoy the best of both worlds – city working and country living.”

Urban residents were more likely to be worried about crime than their country counterparts, with over a quarter of city dweller residents worrying about illegality – compared to 23% of their country counterparts.

They were also more worried about where their kids play, with more than one in five (21%) expressing anxiety about their children having safe places to play compared to 17% of rural dwellers.

People were also worried about the quality of schools, and twice as likely to worry about air quality than people who live in the country.

City folks were also more likely to be kept awake at night by anxiety about vandalism, muggings and transport costs.

Some three quarters of people living in cities said they’d jump at the chance of moving out to the sticks.

The top reasons holding people back are: concerns about the cost of commuting back into town (32%), not knowing where to move to (28%), and the time spent commuting (26%).

The cost of housing and being able to afford a house that is big enough for their families was a worry for 20% of those living in cities, and people in cities are more likely to be anxious about being scammed and identity theft than those who live in outside the city, 16% compared to 13%.

Those living in the country spend less time commuting, a smaller percentage of their income on housing, and are more likely to know the names of their neighbours than city dwellers.

The study revealed that despite country dwellers being generally happier, there are some downsides relating to living outside the capital. The main bugbears were poor local public transport (41%) and feeling cut off (40%).

And they were mirrored by the benefits of living in a city, which were given as great public transport (42%), vibrant nightlife (35%) and a wide choice of work (30%).

The over 60s are much more keen on fresh air and nature than younger generations, with nearly eight out of 10 (78%) saying country air is a key benefit compared to just 58% of 16-to-29-year-olds.

And 77% said that the proximity to nature is a positive to country living, compared to just 50% of the younger generation.

The top 10 UK commuter towns were: St Albans in Hertfordshire, Luton in Bedfordshire, Birmingham in West Midlands, Brighton in East Sussex, Redhill in Surrey, Reading in Berkshire, Windsor in Berkshire, Three Bridges in West Sussex, Stevenage in Hertfordshire and Slough in Berkshire.

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