Look to Wandsworth for lower council tax and commuting costs

Homeowners may save money by staying in London rather than moving out to the Home Counties

Surrey residents have seen substantial rises to council tax bills this month, resulting in the affordability gap between London and this affluent county to close for the first time in years.

Here at Jackson-Stops, we investigated this shrinking affordability gap by analysing the average cost of council tax and annual rail fares across the local authority areas that pay the highest council tax in Surrey. This was compared against the average council tax and commuting costs of residents in the London Borough of Wandsworth. Surprisingly, we found that those choosing to relocate to the London Borough of Wandsworth, instead of commuting into London each day from Surrey, could reduce their annual outgoings for council tax and train travel by up to 73%.

Residents considering a move to Surrey Heath, in particular, could make annual savings of over £4,000 by relocating to the London Borough of Wandsworth, whilst those looking at Woking could save £3,807 each year on their council tax and commuting costs. These sizeable savings on living costs, combined with house price growth of 5% in Surrey and a reduction in house prices in some areas of inner London, mean that those keen to enjoy a more central location with a shorter commute could for the first time in years find it more affordable to live in London than in Surrey.

Less council tax for more frequent services

Lower council taxes aren’t the only perk of staying in London; residents might also enjoy access to better services provided by their Council, such as more frequent waste collection and better street lighting. It is therefore even more surprising that these country homes can be liable for a council tax bill twice the size of the equivalent sized home in the Capital.

What does this mean?

As the price gap between Surrey and London’s property market closes, we could see fewer professionals and young families moving from the Capital as they contemplate whether the lure of Surrey is as strong today as it has been previously. Train fares and council tax are just a few examples of the additional costs these residents will pay to live outside of the Capital; parking at train stations and petrol are also considerations.

Why Wandsworth?

So, “why Wandsworth?”, I hear you ask. The London Borough of Wandsworth provides a good ‘Surrey alternative’ for these buyers; with its leafy surroundings and villagey pockets such as Putney and Earlsfield, it offers many of the frequently-requested lifestyle qualities that the Prime Home County of Surrey undoubtedly continues to provide, albeit at a price that is on the rise.