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Do cycle routes matter when you're buying a property?

BY Ned Browne

15th Nov 2022 Property

Do cycle routes matter when you're buying a property?

Location has always been key to buying a property. Ned Browne explores the increasing importance of access to cycle routes—even for people who don't cycle

In the world where location is key, the things that make a great location are changing. Over the last few year, a number of studies have shown that access to safe cycle routes can significantly increase property values and rental prices. Young people, in particular, often want to be able to cycle safely to work. Those with young families hugely value segregated cycle lanes and paths.

"For many, the option to cycle to work could be the deciding factor when buying a property"

It’s little wonder property adverts often now include details of the cycling options available. For many, the option to cycle to work could be the deciding factor. 

Commuting costs

The average commuter spends more than £1,700 annually on getting to and from work, and for some people the cost is a lot higher. More pressingly, these costs are likely to rise considerably in line with rising energy prices.

Man cycling to work

Cycling to work could save you time and money

Many commuters also suffer from packed trains and buses. No wonder cycling is a more appealing option for many. Moreover, cycling is often the quickest option, especially in rush hour.

Cycle to Work Scheme

If you’re working and don’t have a bicycle, you can considerably reduce the purchase cost of a new bicycle via the Cycle to Work Scheme. In simple terms, your employer pays for your bike, and then you pay them back via a salary reduction, typically over 12 to 24 months (12 being the minimum).

"If you’re a basic rate tax payer, you’ll save slightly over 30 per cent on the purchase of your bike"

Not only does this spread out the cost, but it’s your gross salary that pays the repayments—so you don’t pay any income tax or national insurance. This means that, if you’re a basic rate tax payer, you’ll save slightly over 30 per cent on the purchase of your bike. E-bikes are included in most schemes, too.

Hire, don’t buy

If the thought of servicing, storing and locking your bike fills you with dread, bike hire schemes are in operation in many cities across the country.

Santander cycles in London

It's possible to hire bikes in many places

The most popular is Santander Cycles in London, where over 110 million journeys have been made since its inception in July 2010. Often more than 60,000 of the bicycles are hired in one day. The annual cost is £120 for pretty much unlimited use. Terms and conditions do apply—always read the small print!

Health and wealth

Not only does cycling save you money, it’s also great for your health. In a recent government survey, it was found that people who are physically active take far fewer days off work compared to their less physically active colleagues.

The survey also found that, by improving walking and cycling facilities, retail spend skyrocketed, so it’s good for the economy too. No wonder so many companies offer the Cycle to Work Scheme.

New cycle routes

Even if you’re not planning to cycle yourself, if you’re buying a property find out about proposed cycle routes. In the same way new train links boost property prices even before they’re fully functional, cycle routes are likely to do the same.

"Hundreds of miles of new, safe, cycle routes have been added in recent years"

According to the European Cyclists’ Federation, the United Kingdom is Europe’s 10th most bicycle-friendly nation—Denmark and the Netherlands top the pile. But the progress we’re making is impressive. Hundreds of miles of new, safe, cycle routes have been added in recent years. However, a note of caution: when cycling, remember to respect the highway code!

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