Cut the Commute: 70% of UK City Dwellers Would Be Happier Living Closer To Work


Attitudes to commuting

The average UK commute lasts 32 minutes and covers 22 miles, spanning various modes of transport with the majority using car or van (65%),  versus by foot (17%) and bike at 10%. Older respondents are most likely to walk at least part of their way to work; which is perhaps correlated to the fact that a larger proportion of them live closer to their places of work. Almost a quarter of 45 to 64 year-olds, walk either part or all of their way to work, compared to just 7% of 25-34 year-olds.

In an age of regular delays on public transport and congestion on the roads, homeowners often arrive at the workplace stressed or late. Because of this, 37% of those surveyed say they are in a worse mood following their commute with more men likely to agree with this statement (42%), than women (32%). This figure is significantly higher in London, where 65% said their commute put them in a worse mood.

Proximity to the workplace

The survey states that one third of Britons (33%) would consider moving home to be nearer their place of work. At 47%, Londoners top the list of those likely to consider moving nearer the workplace, compared to 40% of Birmingham residents, 37% of Oxford residents and 33% of people living in Newcastle and York. Belfast, Aberdeen and Southampton residents are least likely to consider a move, with 14%, 15% and 17% respectively.

Younger respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 are most likely to consider relocating, with 63% of 25-34 year-olds saying that they would consider this, as did 43% of 35-44 year-olds. That’s compared to just 8% of over-55s surveyed in this study.

In addition, 70% of respondents in city areas say they would be happier living closer to their place of work, compared to just 8% of those living in  rural areas. Overall, over one third (34%) of Brits said they would be happier if they lived closer to their place of work.

Nearly half (48%) of Britons said that proximity to the workplace is important to them when looking for a new home. This ranks among the top factors such as having a garden (56%), local amenities (53%) and more influential than factors such as proximity to family & friends (39%), standard of local schools (25%) and things to do in the area (23%).

Benefits of walking to work

 Over half of Britons (52%) surveyed said they would walk to work if they lived closer. 35% say they would do so if the climate were warmer, 27% would do so in order to get more exercise and 18% would do so to reduce their environmental footprint. Unsurprisingly, a quarter (26%) of those living in London said they would consider walking more of their journey to work if the air quality in the city were improved, a much higher concern than the UK average of 15%.

These findings come as one of the world’s largest commercial hubs, Canary Wharf, is set to welcome its first ever homes. With a daily working population of over 120,000 across a range of start-ups and corporates, financial institutions, technology and media, Canary Wharf’s new neighbourhood, Wood Wharf, will enjoy the buzz of city life, catering to purchasers’ top requirements with lively high streets, boutique shopping, a GP’s surgery and a new two-form primary school for 420 children.

Brian De’ath, Director of Residential Sales at Canary Wharf Group, comments; “These survey results list the average UK commute as 33 minutes, but what would be better than almost no commute. Residents at Wood Wharf will enjoy the ultimate work-life balance, with more free time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the best Canary Wharf has to offer, from brilliantly curated public art, some of the very best of shopping, restaurants, events and leisure facilities.”

Wood Wharf’s very first residential development, 10 Park Drive, is a 345-apartment building by Stanton Williams. Purchasers will also have access to a new Third Space Wood Wharf fitness club with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and fitness studio, as well as a private club and sky terrace on the 13th floor, ideal for unwinding after a day in the office.

Apartments at 10 Park Drive are available from £595,000 and the first residents are due to move in at the start of 2020. For more information, contact Canary Wharf Group on residential.sales@canarywharf.com or visit www.canarywharf.com/residential

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