Record number of Londoners selling up and buying homes outside the city

Despite being voted ‘best city in the world for quality of life’, the number of Londoners leaving the capital to buy homes elsewhere in the UK has reached its highest level in at least five years (1).

Home owners who bought properties in London over the last few decades have benefited from the capital appreciation as property values have increased. However, as London property prices have recently been flattening out, or even falling in some areas of the city, many homeowners are now choosing to cash in on their gains, and are selling up in favour of more affordable areas of the UK.

According to new research from Hamptons International, in total over 30,000 Londoners bought homes outside the capital in the first half of this year; that’s 16% more than last year and 61% higher than it was 10 years ago (2). With this pattern expected to continue, it indicates a real shift in the demographics of the capital and the south-east.

Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons International, said: “With affordability stretched, more Londoners are moving out of the capital to find their new home. The proportion of London leavers heading North has tripled in the last 10 years.”

Among homeowners leaving London, the average house price in the capital was £580,000, against an average of £333,000 for the areas they moved to, meaning they could save on average almost £250,000 by relocating. The most popular destination for Londoners overall was Dartford in Kent, but thousands opted for more distant cities such as Bristol in the south-west (3).

Lucian Cook, director of residential research at Savills, comments: “Equity has been exported out into other markets, and that’s a classic driver of the ripple effect in terms of prices. High levels of migration from London to Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Bath and Brighton have shown themselves in higher house price growth compared with their surrounding areas.”

In fact, some local housing markets are becoming overwhelmed with cash-rich London buyers looking for their new home outside of the city. According to Hamptons, in Bath and north-east Somerset, 42% of all homes in the first half of 2018 were bought by Londoners (4).

Hamptons also said that moves to the south-west were not just about retirement, with evidence that many people are commuting long-distance back to the capital, often staying in London for a few days a week.

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