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The Northern France Commuter Belt

For many years now, the commuter has been moving further and further from London in search of affordable property within easy reach of their London workplace.

Now it seems that the commuter belt has stretched into Europe, namely Northern France.

There are many attractions to France as a place to live. A more laid-back lifestyle with great food available from great markets. But can it be practical as a commuter belt for London?

Essentially it seems it can.

According to emoov, average salaries are £2,292 per month for employees in London and £1,377 per month for employees in Lille, the regional capital of Hauts-de-France.

Property prices in London are an average of £13,245 per square metre, whereas property in Lille costs an average of just £2,948 per square metre, less than a quarter of their London counterparts.

So how does the commuter get to work in London?

Eurostar passenger trains travel between Calais Fréthun and London St Pancras three times a day, with the fastest journey time of 56 minutes, costing just over £100 return, and with so many people able to work from home on computers part of the time, the Northern France commuter belt seems perfectly viable.

When in London, accommodation can be found for around £60 per night for an overnight stay, whether it be in budget hotels or private residences through websites such as Airbnb.

It is not just Lille that can offer the London commuter experience from Northern France. Move slightly further out to more rural areas such as Pas-de-Calais and you’ll find there’s an even bigger property price discrepancy and transport options are excellent.

Property for sale in Pas-de-Calais is diverse and ranges from townhouses to farmhouses. There are numerous tiny villages, towns such as Montreuil-sur-Mer with its cobblestone streets, coastal towns such as Le Touquet and Boulogne-Sur-Mer and plenty of properties on sale.

Prices are extremely low in these areas when compared to London and surrounding areas. With average property prices at around €140,000.

Indeed, stretch to around €250,000 which would not even get you a studio in London and you could be moving into a beautiful three-storey, five-bedroom townhouse just off the city centre in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The same amount could also buy you a stunning five-bedroom maison de maître in the village of Canlers, near Agincourt.

With a relaxed lifestyle and transport systems to the UK and Northern Europe that are accessible, fast, clean and efficient, Northern France may just be the answer.

Overseas property investors that still want to live within the London commuter belt could now have the chance to do so, and if you get bored with travelling to London you can always go the other way to Paris and beyond.

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