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Searches for homes near train stations jump as UK returns to the office

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The move back to the office following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions has prompted a surge in searches for homes for sale close to commuter stations, according to property website Rightmove.

The property portal said there had been a big increase in searches for train stations an hour away from major cities over the summer, as people started to look for locations which allowed easy travel to work.

Between June and August, searches for homes near Chelmsford station, a 35-minute commute from London’s Liverpool Street station, more than doubled, Rightmove said.

Searches for property around Sittingbourne station in Kent, about an hour’s train commute from London, were up by 47% over the same period.

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Rightmove said that while overall searches for homes near stations remained steady, commuter stations outside London recorded a significant jump between June and August as more people returned to the office.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “Though some stations such as Chelmsford are always popular, the notable increase from June to August while overall searches for stations remained stable suggests the growing importance of the morning commute for those who don’t work locally.

“While the demand to relocate or search for more space has by no means gone away, the numbers suggest that this will need to be balanced with easy transport access on office days, which has understandably been lower on the agenda for many over the last 18 months.”

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Earlier this week, estate agency Savills reported rising rents in the commuter belt around London, with new tenancies in Tunbridge Wells costing 12.8% more than a year ago, and those in Sevenoaks up by 9.4%.