Research from estate agents Hamptons International highlights an increasing number of people leaving London and buying homes elsewhere in the country – 16 per cent more in the first half of 2018 than there were a year ago and 61 per cent more than a decade ago.
In H1 2017, 26,180 homes were bought outside of the capital by Londoners. A year later, this number stands at 30,280.
The most popular destination for people moving out of the capital is the South East, where 38 per cent of leavers head (and spend an average of £575,010), and the East of England, which is the destination for 30 per cent of leavers (£394,480 average spend). The South West lies in third place, taking 9 per cent, where £544,580 is spent on average.
The report also shows a trend for leavers heading North. A decade ago, 6 per cent of those fleeing the capital chose to settle in the Midlands or higher. Today, that figure has tripled, to 21 per cent.
The buying trends of first-time buyers are also of interest. In the first half of the year, 31 per cent of first-time buyers living in London purchased property outside of the city, which is a 2 per cent fall on H1 2017. Of these leavers, 85 per cent remained within commuting distance of London. Four years ago, 95 per cent of leavers maintained their connection to the city.
Hamptons International research analyst Aneisha Beveridge says: “More people are making a bigger move and buying a larger home sooner to avoid having to pay stamp duty on additional moves as they trade up.
“The savings from stamp duty relief and the availability of help to buy has meant that more first-time buyers are able to remain in London than before. But raising a deposit remains a hurdle for many, which helps explain why increasing numbers of first-time buyers who leave London are heading North.”
Mortgage broker CMME chief executive Jason Powell adds: “As professionals start to look for a better work life balance, many [people] are opting to have more space and a slower pace of life by moving out of London. From our experience this drive for a different lifestyle can often lead to many professionals becoming contractors or freelancers and embracing a more flexible way of working.”