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    • KatieDee
    • By KatieDee 10th Feb 18, 12:17 PM
    • 423Posts
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    KatieDee
    Commuting - how far is too far?
    • #1
    • 10th Feb 18, 12:17 PM
    Commuting - how far is too far? 10th Feb 18 at 12:17 PM
    My partner and I are currently looking to purchase a house in the Manchester/Stockport area. At present we have no children, but this is likely to be something we consider in the near future.

    We both work in the city and have a car. We would have loved to buy in South Manchester where we're currently renting, but we simply cannot justify the cost for the average 3 bed house. We've been looking further out, where the average commute to work will be around 40 miles a day. I currently live around 8 miles from work and although the traffic is bad, it isn't gruelingly so. I am very fortunate as my hours are flexible, so it isn't too big of an issue if I get caught in traffic. It takes me around 40 minutes from my door to my office.

    The properties we are looking at are close to railway stations and only 40 mins into the city via train. It's also marginally closer to my family who live on the other side of the peaks. If we move further out, travel costs will increase significantly, but I have the option of driving or using the train. I will either have more petrol costs to pay, or a £1184 a year rail/tram/bus pass.

    In the past, I've driven a 50 mile round journey, but this was with a small amount of city driving, then a swift zip down the M1/M18, so nowhere near as bad as the A6. I love the area we've looked at, have a house in mind but I have this fear that we'll buy a house there, love it for the first few months while it's all new, then dread the journey to work for the rest of the time I live there. I also worry about the future, if we choose to have children, and the additional time/cost travelling so far will add.

    I hope this is in the right section, but I'm just looking for experiences of those who currently commute more than 30 miles a day to work, how you find this, and if you find it's worth the sacrifice
Page 2
    • skint_chick
    • By skint_chick 10th Feb 18, 4:40 PM
    • 704 Posts
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    skint_chick
    Have you looked at the total additional commute costs of buying a house further out vs the extra cost of a higher mortgage to live in south Manchester? Your post seemed to suggest you could afford it, but didn't want to spend the extra and 'waste' money. I almost bought a much cheaper house in a commuter town but when I added up the cost of the extra petrol it ended up being about £50 a month more expensive to live in the city. Then I thought about taxis home after a night out - which might not be an issue if you live near enough to a train/tram station and the trains run late enough. Then the extra time I gained by not having to sit in rush hour traffic for 40 mins morning and night. My commute is about 10/15mins (5 mins in school holidays) it's walkable in about 45 mins if I didn't have the car and free parking (and wasn't so lazy!) and I'm happy with that. I used to drive 50 miles each way, mostly motorway, and the only thing I miss is that I don't get to listen to audiobooks on my commute anymore.

    If you're planning to stay in your current job or most of the jobs in your field are city centre based then you need to think longer term about the commute. If you decide to have children later on and both partners work then one of you has to be able to make their job and commute work around nursery times, so that's something else to think about.
    "I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better." Paul Theroux
    • KatieDee
    • By KatieDee 10th Feb 18, 5:03 PM
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    • 351 Thanks
    KatieDee
    Have you looked at the total additional commute costs of buying a house further out vs the extra cost of a higher mortgage to live in south Manchester? Your post seemed to suggest you could afford it, but didn't want to spend the extra and 'waste' money. I almost bought a much cheaper house in a commuter town but when I added up the cost of the extra petrol it ended up being about £50 a month more expensive to live in the city. Then I thought about taxis home after a night out - which might not be an issue if you live near enough to a train/tram station and the trains run late enough. Then the extra time I gained by not having to sit in rush hour traffic for 40 mins morning and night. My commute is about 10/15mins (5 mins in school holidays) it's walkable in about 45 mins if I didn't have the car and free parking (and wasn't so lazy!) and I'm happy with that. I used to drive 50 miles each way, mostly motorway, and the only thing I miss is that I don't get to listen to audiobooks on my commute anymore.

    If you're planning to stay in your current job or most of the jobs in your field are city centre based then you need to think longer term about the commute. If you decide to have children later on and both partners work then one of you has to be able to make their job and commute work around nursery times, so that's something else to think about.
    Originally posted by skint_chick
    Thank you

    We have discussed increasing our budget and staying locally, but it's more that people with properties for sale are having a laugh when it comes to their prices. I know a property is only worth as much as somebody is willing to pay for it, but the only properties around our realistic budget are on a road where somebody was shot, just a few months ago. I don't think I could see myself having children in an area like that, even if it does keep my commute under 40 minutes. The quieter areas are all over £280k, which just isn't doable, and by the time we'd taken into account the higher mortgage payment (probably around £1100 a month), we would probably still be better off living further out. We said we wanted to be reasonable and not go for the biggest mortgage we could afford.

    There are other compromises we could make which don't involve a huge commute - move to North Manchester which is far cheaper and has fantastic transport links, but I think it tends to suffer from the same fate as South Manchester, as the desirable areas are "up and coming" and therefore, hugely in demand and expensive.

    I don't want to sound judgmental or unreasonable - had it just been for us, I'd probably aim for an apartment closer to the centre, maybe even look at buying where we are now. However, due to our age and life stage, I need to forward plan.

    Very good point about the nursery times though - there's no point in saving 20k on a house, then having to spend that on childcare, and also sacrificing time with our (imaginary) child to sit in traffic!
    • bamgbost
    • By bamgbost 10th Feb 18, 5:17 PM
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    • 70 Thanks
    bamgbost
    KatieDee, I have just started a new job this week. with a similar commute to your proposal - 45miles. e/w

    Currently taking 1hr 20 ish. As theres a number of road works on the way. but even on a good day (clear roads, halfterm), I reckon it would be 1hr5/ 1hr10mins.

    I similarly have had shorter commutes - 35mins max. in the past. So this is defo a step up. I can already feel the difference, but hopefully i get used to it.

    Buzz me in a couple wks.. and I can let you know how I'm getting on! But part of it is in the mind i reckon. An hour ish (give or take) should be doable! - (Hopefully! )
    • JoJo1978
    • By JoJo1978 10th Feb 18, 5:30 PM
    • 356 Posts
    • 433 Thanks
    JoJo1978
    I agree with other posters, it's time not distance that's important. We used to live in London and my commute from SE to West took 90 minutes each way. Driving or by public transport. Didn't matter what time.

    Do seriously think about areas before deciding finally that you have to be near to the city you work in. We've recently moved 115 miles North of London...but still work there. We've doubled the size of our house meaning that we each have home offices.

    We don't go down to London every day but when we do the train journey is only 75 minutes. Home to office in about 2 hours, so only a touch over what I was used to. We take the train so can use that time eating, reading, watching TV or resting.

    If children are on the cards then one or both of your current jobs may change too, so I'd be even more inclined to research areas farther out that are potentially more family friendly. I'm not going to be working in London forever and have been pleasantly surprised at how many local opportunities there are.
    Hamster in the wheel (London) 1999-2017
    Mortgage free since 2015; Pension pot sorted 2017
    Part-time gigger and charity volunteer 2018
    • KatieDee
    • By KatieDee 10th Feb 18, 5:46 PM
    • 423 Posts
    • 351 Thanks
    KatieDee
    I agree with other posters, it's time not distance that's important. We used to live in London and my commute from SE to West took 90 minutes each way. Driving or by public transport. Didn't matter what time.

    Do seriously think about areas before deciding finally that you have to be near to the city you work in. We've recently moved 115 miles North of London...but still work there. We've doubled the size of our house meaning that we each have home offices.

    We don't go down to London every day but when we do the train journey is only 75 minutes. Home to office in about 2 hours, so only a touch over what I was used to. We take the train so can use that time eating, reading, watching TV or resting.

    If children are on the cards then one or both of your current jobs may change too, so I'd be even more inclined to research areas farther out that are potentially more family friendly. I'm not going to be working in London forever and have been pleasantly surprised at how many local opportunities there are.
    Originally posted by JoJo1978
    Thank you

    London is fantastically good for commuting, and it's great to hear that you've found a beautiful home which suits your families needs. Manchester has decent public transport, but we certainly don't have the same range of commuter (as far as I know!).

    The area we're looking at is around the Disley area, which seems absolutely perfect for families. Close to the Peak District, plenty of green areas, good pubs (!), fantastic schools which are not oversubscribed and a nice community feel. It's 40 minutes from the city on a direct train, or probably around an hours drive, depending on how lucky you were.

    For me, area is everything. Having lived in an area with severe problems, I wouldn't ever want to feel trapped in such a place again. I feel that by moving further out (although still close enough to take advantage of the city), we will experience a better quality of life, even if that is at the sacrifice of slightly earlier mornings/later evenings midweek.

    On our trial run, in which roadworks were on the go, we managed to arrive "home" by 4.45pm, leaving at 4pm. This was midweek, so possibly the busiest time. We may have been lucky, but I could manage that.

    Thank you for your reply though - I was expecting everybody to advise me against commuting, but I've got a really good mixture of replies which has definitely given me food for thought!
    • KatieDee
    • By KatieDee 10th Feb 18, 5:59 PM
    • 423 Posts
    • 351 Thanks
    KatieDee
    KatieDee, I have just started a new job this week. with a similar commute to your proposal - 45miles. e/w

    Currently taking 1hr 20 ish. As theres a number of road works on the way. but even on a good day (clear roads, halfterm), I reckon it would be 1hr5/ 1hr10mins.

    I similarly have had shorter commutes - 35mins max. in the past. So this is defo a step up. I can already feel the difference, but hopefully i get used to it.

    Buzz me in a couple wks.. and I can let you know how I'm getting on! But part of it is in the mind i reckon. An hour ish (give or take) should be doable! - (Hopefully! )
    Originally posted by bamgbost
    It's amazing how well we adapt to new challenges! I honestly never gave a thought to driving 50 miles a day a few years ago, where as driving 15 a day in Manchester has put the fear in me

    I remember half term was like winning the lottery when I could just zip to work in about 20 minutes!

    Hopefully you'll get used to the commute, then you can come back and tell me how fabulous it is, and how I should go ahead and buy this house
    • ashe
    • By ashe 10th Feb 18, 6:20 PM
    • 530 Posts
    • 367 Thanks
    ashe
    Thanks for your response That's quite a distance! How do you find it when you do have to go into the office?

    I too can work from home, although I am expected to be in the office a fair bit. I could make an arrangement with my employer to work from home on certain days of the week to reduce costs, but I would feel a bit cheeky doing this as a result of me choosing to move further away !
    Originally posted by KatieDee
    It's fine really, its 1 hour 10 minutes each way. I have an Audible subscription and have listened to many books. To be honest it flies by. Employers are generally keen on remote workers where the employee can be trusted, its less site costs for them.
    • badger09
    • By badger09 10th Feb 18, 6:55 PM
    • 6,004 Posts
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    badger09
    As others have said, think about the time the journey takes and the stress factors involved. If you really like the area you mentioned in your OP, then personally, I would be travelling by train with the option of driving as my backup.

    That's assuming you have a decent reliable commuter service of course. If you get a seat, you can read or do bits of admin, online shopping etc on the commute, which you just can't do if driving.

    I've daily driven 100 mile cross country round trips in the past and wouldn't recommend it.
    • Ocelot
    • By Ocelot 10th Feb 18, 7:03 PM
    • 110 Posts
    • 253 Thanks
    Ocelot
    I do 110 miles round trip as day (mostly motorway driving against traffic). It's not ideal, but you do get used to it. Where I work is a cheaper town than where I live, so did consider renting out my place and renting somewhere near work for half the price for a while, but I have lots of stuff. Then I got cats, so not an option.
    • MissMarble
    • By MissMarble 10th Feb 18, 7:25 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    MissMarble
    Thank you

    We have discussed increasing our budget and staying locally, but it's more that people with properties for sale are having a laugh when it comes to their prices. I know a property is only worth as much as somebody is willing to pay for it, but the only properties around our realistic budget are on a road where somebody was shot, just a few months ago. I don't think I could see myself having children in an area like that, even if it does keep my commute under 40 minutes. The quieter areas are all over £280k, which just isn't doable, and by the time we'd taken into account the higher mortgage payment (probably around £1100 a month), we would probably still be better off living further out. We said we wanted to be reasonable and not go for the biggest mortgage we could afford.

    There are other compromises we could make which don't involve a huge commute - move to North Manchester which is far cheaper and has fantastic transport links, but I think it tends to suffer from the same fate as South Manchester, as the desirable areas are "up and coming" and therefore, hugely in demand and expensive.

    I don't want to sound judgmental or unreasonable - had it just been for us, I'd probably aim for an apartment closer to the centre, maybe even look at buying where we are now. However, due to our age and life stage, I need to forward plan.

    Very good point about the nursery times though - there's no point in saving 20k on a house, then having to spend that on childcare, and also sacrificing time with our (imaginary) child to sit in traffic!
    Originally posted by KatieDee
    Hi KatieDee, I thought I would just message you as Iíve posted in another thread about the difficulties of finding an affordable home in a nice area in Manchester! We currently live on the border of Rusholme/Moss Side and having lived in the area since being a student (6 years ago!,
    ), we are desperate to move but feel we are just getting priced out despite only starting our search properly a few months ago. With this in mind we are going to re visit our strategy in a few months if nothing comes up and look at moving further out. To be honest, I wouldnít mind it and to be in a nice community but itís such a complicated decision! Whatever you decide, hope it all works out for you and you can find your home soon
    • KatieDee
    • By KatieDee 10th Feb 18, 7:35 PM
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    • 351 Thanks
    KatieDee
    Hi KatieDee, I thought I would just message you as Iíve posted in another thread about the difficulties of finding an affordable home in a nice area in Manchester! We currently live on the border of Rusholme/Moss Side and having lived in the area since being a student (6 years ago!,
    ), we are desperate to move but feel we are just getting priced out despite only starting our search properly a few months ago. With this in mind we are going to re visit our strategy in a few months if nothing comes up and look at moving further out. To be honest, I wouldnít mind it and to be in a nice community but itís such a complicated decision! Whatever you decide, hope it all works out for you and you can find your home soon
    Originally posted by MissMarble
    Ooh, I noticed how similar our situations were and actually thought about your thread when starting mine! I didn't want to hijack yours, so thought I'd make a new one

    I really hope you manage to find something too. I have only been in Manchester for around 18 months, but I'm completely at home here. I desperately want to purchase a home and settle down, but the market is insane at the moment. I feel like there's a lot to be gained by betting on those "up and coming" areas, but it's such a risk!

    You do get used to living close to the city, and my major concern about moving away was losing that proximity and atmosphere. We live very close to Rusholme, so you're probably not far from me at all. It's about 30mins on a bus into the city from where we live now, but I can honestly say I've only been to town a handful of times since moving here! Mostly because the rent is so high that we can't afford all those wonderful bars and restaurants!

    If you do manage to find a lovely area with affordable housing in Manchester, please let me know! I promise we won't gazump you...
    • spirit
    • By spirit 10th Feb 18, 8:07 PM
    • 2,717 Posts
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    spirit
    Have you looked around Marple? There is Rose hill station there so easy commute. I live just South of manchester. There's the tram stop not far from here and also train taking 11 minutes to Manchester.
    Mortgage free as of 10/02/2015. Every brick and blade of grass belongs to meeeee.
    • KatieDee
    • By KatieDee 10th Feb 18, 8:14 PM
    • 423 Posts
    • 351 Thanks
    KatieDee
    Have you looked around Marple? There is Rose hill station there so easy commute. I live just South of manchester. There's the tram stop not far from here and also train taking 11 minutes to Manchester.
    Originally posted by spirit
    Hi Spirit. Funnily enough, we have just arranged to view a house in Marple

    It's either there, or Disley/Furness Vale - both are nice areas within 40 minutes train journey from Manchester. Thanks for the tip though - it's great to get more ideas of potential areas. Can I ask where in South Manchester you're living?
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 10th Feb 18, 8:24 PM
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    glasgowdan
    For me it's not about the financial cost of commuting but the lost time. I wouldn't want over an hr door to door to work each way. And if kids appear you'll want to be available as much as possible.

    I would look to an area to suit a family, near decent schools.

    What are the chances of getting another job one day away from the city a bit?
    Last edited by glasgowdan; 10-02-2018 at 10:45 PM.
    • KatieDee
    • By KatieDee 10th Feb 18, 8:31 PM
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    • 351 Thanks
    KatieDee
    For me it's avout the financial cost of commuting but the lost time. I wouldn't want over an hr door to door to work each way. And if kids appear you'll want to be available as much as possible.

    I would look to an area to suit a family, near decent schools.

    What are the chances of getting another job one day away from the city a bit?
    Originally posted by glasgowdan
    Thank you for your reply. There are a few organisations I could apply to who would be closer than my current employer if I moved further out, but this would reset all of my maternity leave allowances which are very generous at my current employer. I also have the option of flexible working where I am, which would be hugely beneficial if we moved further out.

    It's an excellent point though, and something I would keep in mind if I found the commute to be too difficult. I am not tied to my employer, although they are fantastic.
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 10th Feb 18, 10:37 PM
    • 10,652 Posts
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    hazyjo
    I commute on trains with a walk either end. My hour and a half (nearly) is loads nicer than my old hour door-to-door commute.

    Each to their own. I might not have wanted to be so far out when I was in my 20s or even 30s.

    Jx
    2018 wins: Single Malt Whisky; theatre tickets; festival tickets; year of gin(!); shoes
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 10th Feb 18, 10:50 PM
    • 2,895 Posts
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    glasgowdan
    Thank you for your reply. There are a few organisations I could apply to who would be closer than my current employer if I moved further out, but this would reset all of my maternity leave allowances which are very generous at my current employer. I also have the option of flexible working where I am, which would be hugely beneficial if we moved further out.

    It's an excellent point though, and something I would keep in mind if I found the commute to be too difficult. I am not tied to my employer, although they are fantastic.
    Originally posted by KatieDee
    I run my own business and when my first kid arrived my wife and I cut our hours. When my second arrived I cut mine further and now I work 3 days a week, watch the kids 2 full days then we share things at weekends. I work on jobs between 5 and 35 mins from home. My wife is a ten min train ride away. Family life, to us, is more important than top earning capacity and we get by, save some and enjoy lots of time with the little ones. What do you do when the nursery/childminder phones to say the kid appears to have an infectious illness and they need to be picked up urgently? Or the nursery has to close due to flooding. If you're going to be 60-90 mins away this can make the practical things very awkward.

    BUT, people do manage in those situations. I reckon in your shoes I'd be looking to buy towards the top of the budget as close to work and a decent area to bring up kids as possible
    • novelty-socks
    • By novelty-socks 10th Feb 18, 11:06 PM
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    novelty-socks
    Commutes are funny things. 60 minutes on a free-flowing motorway can be much easier to take than 60 minutes on busy city streets.

    Having had both long and short commutes in my career, I'd say a 40-minute commute isn't to much to deal with - either by car or train.

    Personally, I'd pay the extra for the season ticket and take the train, because then that time becomes more valuable: assuming you have a seat (not always a given, I do understand), then you can read, sleep, listen to podcasts, music, work on a side project !!!8230; even start work so you can leave and get home earlier.

    (My perspective is: I live and work in London, with a 40-minute commute each day from zone 3 to `one 1. But that 40 minutes includes about 15 minutes of walking, so I get to enjoy some fresh air and the time on the tube goes by pretty quickly.)
    • zagubov
    • By zagubov 10th Feb 18, 11:09 PM
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    zagubov
    I think the OP needs to do a lot more reconnaissance about good areas closer to work. Accurately predicting your ability to tolerate a long commute is frankly a superpower that only Superman could manage when he's at the top of his game, when in reality we're all just a bunch of Clark Kents.
    There is no honour to be had in not knowing a thing that can be known - Danny Baker
    • harz99
    • By harz99 10th Feb 18, 11:26 PM
    • 2,673 Posts
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    harz99
    Very true, PasturesNew. I think I need your friends job

    I drive a very bumpy little Mini Cooper which is already close to being on its last legs - I barely trust it to get me to work most days, never mind with double the mileage!

    I have the option of commuting on the train as well, which would be far less stressful and tiring. It's around an hour travelling that way, so probably very similar to the drive. You've definitely given me a fair bit to think about though, as after purchasing a house I definitely won't be in the position to buy a new, comfy commuter car!
    Originally posted by KatieDee

    If you are considering the train, what options are there if the main rail line "falls over" and services cannot run for any reason- any viable alternative route or bus/coach services?


    Also consider the effect of winter weather, ie the dreaded snow, whether driving or train.
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