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Imagine you’ve found your dream home. Then you realise that getting to work is going to mean an hour-long drive and a parking headache, and a night out is going to cost a fortune in taxi fares. Does it put you off?

These days, the average commute is around 30 minutes each way. Nobody wants to spend hours in traffic. So if you’re looking for a new home, start by considering some great locations where getting to major nearby cities and towns is not going to be a problem.

Towns and villages close to Derby, Leicester and Nottingham are all well-connected, giving you a choice of locations more affordable than city-centre living, but just moments from the city. This is all largely thanks to the A38, the second longest road in Britain, running from Nottinghamshire to Cornwall. What could it mean for your property search?

How road links could change your property search

Not only can the A38 connect you to nearby cities and other towns and villages quickly and easily, but there are also house prices to consider. Home.co.uk shows that in four areas close to the northern end of the A38 – Derby, Burton on Trent, Lichfield and Mansfield – the cost of buying a home went up by an average of 16.75%? between 2006 and 2016, so there are opportunities to make returns on your investment by buying in these thriving commuter hubs.

Great transport links, the prospect of house prices increasing and quality of life in semi-rural and suburban locations all give reasons to consider these locations for a move. Compare life in these places to city living too, where costs are high and the space you can afford reduced.

We’ve taken a look at the cost of commuting into Nottingham, Derby and Leicester from nearby areas. You might find you can get a more affordable, more spacious home that doesn’t involve you compromising too much on the time it takes you travel – or your budget.

Nottingham – Perfectly placed for commuters

Nottingham’s central location makes it one of the UK’s best connected cities. It’s estimated that as many as 20 million people live within two hours’ commute, made even easier by the city’s great transport links.

Don’t just take our word for it. Nottingham City came out top in the 2016 National Highways & Transport (NHT) Network Satisfaction Survey – and not for the first time. The region has ranked consistently high for satisfaction over recent years, which might have something to do with its falling traffic levels.

Living just a few miles outside of Nottingham in suburbs such as Sherwood, Hucknall, Ilkeston and Long Eaton gives you a balance between city and suburban living – without eating into your transport budget.

Nottingham’s property market: A snapshot

As you’d expect from any big city, homes Nottingham come with a premium price tag. Rightmove data shows detached homes cost an average of £266,193, and according to Home.co.uk, they’ve risen 33% over the past decade.

If you move slightly outside the city centre, you’ll soon find you start to get more property for your money. In Sherwood, the average detached house price is £231,257, Rightmove reveals, so by moving around 3 miles outside the city, you could save almost £35,000 on your mortgage.

Leicester – The Midlands’ retail headquarters

It might be a little further from the A38, but Leicester shouldn’t be overlooked for its convenient transport links - not least because the M1 runs close by. The city also lays claim to having the largest economy in the East Midlands, as well as being home to many of the country’s biggest retailers. Next, Wal-Mart and Dunelm are just some of the big-name brands with their headquarters in the city.

It’s not surprising, then, that so many people want to live within easy reach of Leicester. With the city reported to have the most traffic lights in the UK, finding the fastest and most direct route (whether in the car or on public transport) couldn’t be more important.

You can find bus and train links throughout Leicester’s suburbs, linking places such as Whetstone, Loughborough, Syston and Wigston with the heart of the city. Commuting costs are relatively inexpensive, so living outside the centre could have all sorts of benefits.

Leicester’s property market: A snapshot

The average price of homes in Leicester has been climbing for years – Home.co.uk reveals that detached properties in the city were 20% more expensive in 2016 than they were ten years earlier. Across all types of property, the rise stood at 17%.

Detached homes aren’t usually easy to come across in a city centre, and those that are available in Leicester will set you back around £283,154, Rightmove estimates. Move around 6 miles north, out of the city to Syston and you’ll have a much wider choice with a lower price tag, as the average cost of a detached home is £221,551.

Derby – Central with all the right connections

Derby is said to be the most central city in the UK. As you’d expect, it’s well served by a wide variety of public transport links and roads, including the A38.

The M1 also passes around 10 miles away from the city, so you can easily travel to northern cities such as Sheffield and Leeds in the north, and London in the south. If your job often takes you further afield, East Midlands Airport is just 14 miles from the city centre, with flights throughout Europe and beyond.

It is possible to make the most of Derby without the big city house prices. Burton on Trent, Ashbourne, Mackworth and Belper are all within easy reach – and you can reach the centre of Derby in very little time.

Derby’s property market: A snapshot

Homeowners in Derby have been enjoying steady price rises over the past ten years. Detached homes in particular have increased in value and were up 11% between 2006 and 2016, Home.co.uk reveals, while the price rise across all types of property is 4%.

Step just a few miles outside Derby and there are plenty of locations where you can also enjoy decent property price rises. Burton on Trent is the prime example, where the average price increase across all types of property has reached 18% since 2006 – that’s 7% higher than Derby.

*Fuel costs calculated using http://journeyprice.co.uk/, retrieved on 20th February 2017. Petrol price 120.09 pence per litre, MPG of 35 and non-optimal driving offset of 15%. One person per vehicle.

Bus and train times have been calculated during peak commuting hours.

 ? House price rises stood at 4% in Derby, 18% in Burton on Trent, 31% in Lichfield and 14% in Mansfield. Calculated using Home.co.uk data.

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