Boris Johnson’s recently proposed bridge from France to England may have been derailed by parties on both sides of the Channel, but could a second crossing make Lille the next London commuter hotspot?
This idea may sound crazy, but, as with the north of England, an improvement in infrastructure could see UK buyers priced out of the London property market opt for the north of France’s far more affordable house prices, at the expense of a little more time spent commuting.
Bridge or no bridge, hybrid estate agent Emoov.co.uk has highlighted that Lille may already be a realistic commuter hotspots for those looking to work in London in the week and live in France at the weekend.
The agent calculated the cost of living in Lille and working in London, by taking the Eurostar on Monday mornings, staying in a hotel for four nights and returning home on Friday evenings, all while taking advantage of the capital’s higher wage potential and Lille’s far more affordable house prices and cost of living.
As one of the most expensive cities in the world, London’s house prices are well above those in other areas of Europe, with an average price tag of £13,245 per square metre – a shocking 349% more than Lille’s £2,948.
Therefore, owning a property in Lille would be much easier for those trying to get onto the housing ladder. Similarly, the cost of renting a one-bedroom flat in Lille averages £526 per month, while London’s typical rent is £1,661.
In addition, the average monthly salary after tax in London (£2,292) is almost £1,000 higher than that in Lille (£1,377), so, while you can save on the price of your property, you don’t have to sacrifice your wage potential.
A train ticket on the Eurostar on Monday morning, returning to Lille on Friday evening averages £109 and takes just an hour and 22 minutes, while a hotel in walking distance of King’s Cross/St. Pancras only sets you back £220 for four nights.
Even if you don’t work around King’s Cross/St. Pancras, the additional cost of a Zone 1 and 2 Oyster Card is just £131 per month and £1,364 a year.
With the higher wages offered in London and lower cost of living in Lille, the north of France could be a great option for those looking to own a property within a commutable distance from the capital.
Russell Quirk, the Founder and CEO of Emoov, comments on the bizarre idea: “The cost of London property puts it out of reach of many working and renting in the capital and, while the idea of commuting from France may sound a bit bonkers, we’ve seen what is considered a commutable distance in the UK continue to stretch further and further, due to improvements in transport infrastructure.
“Yes, commuting between Lille and London is more expensive than your average TfL travel card, but the upshot is a foot on the ladder at a much, much more affordable price than London can offer. That said, I would personally take a seat on the Eurostar for an hour-and-a-half over 30 minutes on a packed Tube train and, when you consider the benefit of London’s higher wage coupled with Lille’s lower cost of living, it seems a very attractive proposition.”
Landlords, what do you think – could Lille be a realistic commuter hotspot for London workers?