As this year’s average 2.8% annual rail fare hike comes into effect, we take a fresh look at which commuter towns are most affordable.

Grays in Essex is the most affordable place for commuters working in London to buy a home.

The combined cost of a season ticket and mortgage repayments on a property in the town, which takes 41 minutes by train to Fenchurch Station, comes to £15,008 a year, according to our data.

It is followed by Leagrave in Bedfordshire, which has a traveling time of 55 minutes to the capital, with annual costs totalling £15,399, and Crayford in Kent at £15,662.

Basildon and Harlow, both in Essex, complete the top five with commuting times of 37 minutes and 41 minutes respectively.

Laura Howard, consumer expert at Zoopla, says: “As the new season ticket prices come into effect this month – much to the frustration of the millions of commuters across Britain – those looking to relocate to save money should pay close attention to these figures.

“The past decade has seen significant property price growth in prime London commuter belt towns but, despite this, our analysis still identifies pockets across South East England that represent affordable value for commuters.”

What about Bristol?

Potential buyers looking for an affordable home within commuting distance of Bristol should look across the water to Wales.

Newport is the best value commuting town for Bristol, with annual mortgage and season ticket costs adding up £10,166 and a travel time of just 35 minutes to Bristol Temple Meads station.

Highbridge and Burnham in Somerset is the next most affordable location at £11,595 a year, followed by Bridgwater, also in Somerset, at £11,975.

Caldicot in Wales and Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset also represent good value for workers in Bristol.

… and Birmingham?

Wolverhampton not only offers the most affordable homes for people working in Birmingham at a combined cost of £7,484 a year for mortgage payments and a season ticket, but also the shortest commute overall of just 20 minutes.

Cannock in Staffordshire is the next best value for those employed in Birmingham at £7,934 a year, followed by Stoke-on-Trent at £8,273.

Telford and Wilnecote complete the top five of the most affordable towns within easy commuting distance of Birmingham.

Northern commuter cities

Northern cities tend to be more affordable than those in the south, so people are more likely to be able to live close to where they work.

Even so, people working in Manchester who want a cheaper location should consider Hindley, a 58-minute journey away, where combined annual mortgage payments and season ticket costs add up to £6,883.

Homebuyers looking for value within commuting distance of Edinburgh should look at Dunfermline, where mortgage repayments and travelling costs will set them back by £7,530 a year.