House prices are generally used as a proxy for an area’s desirability. Basic economics tells us that the higher the demand, the higher the price paid for it and the demand for a property in a commuter town will reflect a number of attributes. These include travel time and cost to London, quality of local schools, green space, local retail and other amenities.
An analysis of 67 commuter towns within 90 minutes of London shows that Beaconsfield and Esher have the auspicious honour of the highest house prices outside London, with average prices in excess of £1 million.
Gerrards Cross comes a close third. In contrast Luton, Rainham and Rochester come in as the cheapest commuter towns. There is a marked East/West divide, with the cheaper locations to the East of London. However, in this research we dig deeper to determine whether these prices reflect fair value. To do this we have formulated a desirability index, where we score a town/city on a number of factors. This can be used to estimate whether these prices are indeed justified. Our analysis shows that the most desirable towns are Beaconsfield, Amersham and St Albans. However, with the exception of Beaconsfield, these are not the most expensive towns and therefore are effectively undervalued. We have identified 25 towns that are over 10% undervalued using our relationship; broadly speaking our findings show that a 10% increase in our measure of desirability increases price by 10.5%.