Which UK commuter towns have grown the most during Covid?

A new report by a card payment provider has revealed which commuter towns and cities in the UK have seen the biggest movement and growth during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 data by Dojo has analysed UK commuter towns and their nearby cities to uncover which have prospered the most from January 2020 to March 2021. To investigate this, Dojo gathered data on each location’s property market, job vacancies, salaries and footfall. It then compared the data to the previous year to discover the percentage increase in growth.

RankingNamePopulation% Change
1Exeter131,40517.94%
2Eastbourne103,74515.88%
3Worthing110,5704.62%
4Norwich140,5734.53%
5Oxford152,4574.22%
6Cambridge124,7982.96%
7Rochdale222,4122.36%
8Milton Keynes269,4571.62%
9Slough149,5390.53%
10Crawley112,4090.24%

Exeter tops list of most successful commuter city during Covid

Out of all the commuter locations, Exeter grew the most during the pandemic, seeing growth of 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, while residential sales 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.  

London commuter towns see biggest growth 

Eastbourne ranked second on the commuter town list, growing by 15.88% from 2020-2021. The town is an 86-minute train journey from central London and enjoys affordable housing and a tranquil seaside location.

Worthing saw a 4.26% growth throughout 2020, making it the third most successful commuter town in the report. The town saw a comfortable increase in its average salary from £32,274 to £35,852 and property sales increased from 140 from January 2020 to 174 in November 2020.

What about the slowest areas?

Using the same property, job and footfall indicators, Dojo also investigated the effect growing commuter towns were having on their connected cities to see which were being impacted the most. 

Bradford saw the biggest hit, with a decrease of 24.25%. Property sales are moving at a much slower rate than any of the other UK cities as well as a decrease in footfall over the pandemic period. 

Newcastle upon Tyne took second spot. The city declined in growth by 17.23% as working from home became the new normal and footfall across the city dipped with many of its residents no longer needing to commute. 

Completing the top three was Coventry, declining 15.72%. The city’s property market shrank by 15.72%, with property sales dipping from 329 in January 2020 to 293 in November 2020.

Jon Knott, head of customer insights at Dojo, comments: “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 have attracted many to these areas. 

Knott notes despite instability and fluctuations in the market, the pandemic has brought growth to new businesses and has helped consumers appreciate the value of independent business. “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,” he adds.

“Now lockdown is easing, businesses could be set to boom from customers determined to make the most of rediscovered freedoms.”

You can view Dojo’s full report, complete with infographics, by clicking here.

Written by: Houseladder