Best Commuter Towns in Sunderland: A Guide to Affordable Living and Easy Access to the City

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<strong>Best Commuter Towns in Sunderland: A Guide to Affordable Living and Easy Access to the City</strong>
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A survey by OneFamily in 2018 of 2,000 people from across the UK saw Sunderland named as the nation’s favourite place to live based on metrics such as average salary, rent, property prices and commuting costs.

As a commuter city though, Sunderland is just as attractive. It benefits from excellent transport links, with the A19 and A1(M) providing easy access to the wider region, and Sunderland railway station offers frequent train services to other northeast towns and cities. 

With these excellent links to other urban centres and suburbs, Sunderland is a really attractive place to live close to, so you can benefit from city life and the peace of out-of-town living.  Living in one of the nearby best commuter towns in Sunderland is a great option for investors, so sell house fast and join those already taking the plunge. 

Benefits of Living in Commuter Towns

There are many reasons why people choose, or prefer, to live in towns outside of city centres and make the commute in.

Affordable housing prices

Commuter towns, typically located on the outskirts of major cities, often have more affordable properties compared to urban centres. This could therefore in theory allow people to purchase larger homes or rent more spacious accommodations, providing better value for money. 

Access to good schools and other amenities

Commuter towns often have plenty of good schools, making them an attractive option for families with children. Additionally, smaller towns tend to have a range of local amenities such as parks, providing residents with easy access to services and leisure activities. Since these towns are located close to major cities, residents can also benefit from the job opportunities, cultural attractions, and entertainment options available in the urban centres without having to worry too much about some of the negatives that can come with city living.

Lower crime rates

As commuter towns are home to much fewer people, they tend to have lower crime rates compared to urban areas, providing a safer environment for residents to raise kids and go about day-to-day life. This sense of security can contribute to a higher quality of life and may be particularly appealing for families and those looking to raise children. 

Quieter lifestyle

Commuter towns offer a more relaxed and peaceful way of life compared to the hustle and bustle of city living. With less noise, pollution, and congestion and an abundance of green spaces, parks, and nature reserves, these towns can help people live healthier lives.

Top Commuter Towns in Sunderland

Suburban living in Sunderland is certainly possible so if you are looking to move to the northeast and commute into Sunderland, we recommend exploring some of these towns.


Situated strategically between Sunderland and Newcastle, Washington is a sought-after location for commuters, offering easy access to Sunderland and a wide range of job and educational opportunities. With diverse housing options, reputable schools, and various leisure facilities, Washington provides an exceptional quality of life for families and professionals.

Over the past year, the average property price in Washington was £164,450, reflecting a 3% decrease from the previous year but a 1% increase from the 2020 peak of £162,714. This is in comparison to average house prices of just over £160,000 in Sunderland itself.

Since its designation as a new town in 1964, Washington has experienced considerable growth and now has a population of just over 67,000. The town boasts excellent connectivity through its bus services, with major stations at The Galleries and Concord in the northern part of Washington. Furthermore, key roads like the A182, A1231, and A195 connect to the A1(M) motorway, enabling a quick 15-minute commute to Sunderland by car.

Washington’s well-regarded schools are a significant draw for families, with options such as St Robert of Newminster Sixth Form and Usworth Sixth Form available for higher education.

Commute to Sunderland by car: Approximately 15-25 minutes.

Commute to Sunderland by public transport: Approximately 30-50 minutes.


Seaham, situated on the Durham coast, is a picturesque town that combines seaside living with easy access to Sunderland, which is approximately 6 miles away. It is an excellent commuter town with overall property prices of £138,405 – over £20,000 less than properties in Sunderland – with terraced properties selling for an average of £95,570.

In addition to its affordable housing market, Seaham boasts several key attractions. One of the most notable is Tommy, a World War 1 soldier statue created by a local artist. Initially intended as a temporary installation, the community raised enough funds to make it a permanent fixture. Each Remembrance Sunday, a display is held here to honour the fallen. Other local highlights include its well-known fish and chip shop, which offers a taste of traditional British cuisine best enjoyed whilst strolling along the promenade or spending a day at the beach!

Commute to Sunderland by car: Approximately 15-20 minutes.

Commute to Sunderland by public transport: Approximately 30-45 minutes.


Houghton-le-Spring is a town situated in County Durham, between the City of Durham and Sunderland. With a population of 36,746, this former mining town boasts a rich history dating back to Norman times and is connected to Sunderland by the A690.

The main shopping area, Newbottle Street, features a supermarket, library, Post Office, various shops, and several pubs, including the historic Golden Lion. Over the last year, the overall average property price in Houghton Le Spring was £163,929.

Looking for things to see and do if you lived here? Houghton Feast, an ancient festival held every October, originated in the 12th century and today includes a fairground, carnival, fireworks, and ox roasting event. Leisure activities in the town include walks and relaxation at Joe’s Pond and theatrical productions hosted by the ZAZZ Performing Arts Academy at Empire House.

Houghton-le-Spring also offers several highly-rated schools, such as Benedict Biscop Church of England Academy (ages 3-11), Hetton Lyons Primary School (ages 4-11), and Bernard Gilpin Primary School (ages 5-11). The town’s convenient location, amenities, and educational options make it an appealing choice for commuters looking to settle near Sunderland.

Commute to Sunderland by car: Approximately 15-25 minutes.

Commute to Sunderland by public transport: Approximately 30-50 minutes.

Chester Le Street

Situated about 10 miles from Sunderland, Chester-Le-Street is a charming, historical market town that enjoys easy access to the A1 and frequent train services to Sunderland, Newcastle, and Durham. Over the last year, the overall average property price in Chester Le Street was £187,797, so quite a bit higher than the Sunderland average which you need to take into consideration.

A peaceful and quaint town surrounded by beautiful countryside, Chester-le-Street is one the best commuter towns in Sunderland and is known for its picturesque high street filled with gabled buildings and charming shops. Situated along the River Wear and within easy reach of the Durham Dales, this town offers a perfect balance of quiet town life and natural beauty. In fact, in 2016, The Sunday Times listed Chester-le-Street as one of the best places to live in the north and northeast. 

Commute to Sunderland by car: Approximately 25-35 minutes.

Commute to Sunderland by public transport: Approximately 40-60 minutes.

Choosing the best commuter town for you

Thinking of making the move? Take your time to consider some of the key factors to consider when choosing a commuter town:

Property prices

Investigate the average property prices in the area, including the cost of renting or buying. Compare these prices with those in neighbouring towns and cities to ensure you’re making a cost-effective choice.


If you have children or plan to have them in the future, the quality of local schools is essential. Research the schools in the area, including their Ofsted ratings, facilities, and extracurricular programs. 

Commute time

Evaluate the commute time to your workplace, taking into account factors like traffic, public transport options, and travel costs. A shorter and more convenient commute will save you time and money in the long run.

As we can see, each town has its unique charm and offers different benefits that cater to diverse lifestyles and preferences. By examining key factors, you can make an informed decision and choose the right town that suits your needs and offers a great balance between affordability, convenience, and quality of life.

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