London exodus continues as homebuyers move up north for better value

More Londoners than ever are quitting the capital in search of an affordable place to live, with migration to the north and Midlands trebling over the last decade.

Property owners who snapped up homes in London a couple of decades or more ago have done very well out of the capital appreciation as values have shot up. However, as property prices across the capital have been flattening out or even falling in recent times, 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, using data from estate agent Countrywide, there has been a 16% increase over the first half of this year of homes being bought by Londoners outside the capital compared to the first half of last year. The figure is also 61% higher than it was 10 years ago, indicating a real shift in the way people see the London property market now compared to other parts of the country.

While the majority (38%) of London-dwellers stayed in the south of England, where prices are still high but slightly more affordable than the capital, 21% opted to buy in the north or the Midlands, which is more than three times the figure seen in 2008.

Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons International, said: “With affordability stretched, more Londoners are moving out of the capital to find their new home.

“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. But for many, this means heading further north.”

What you get in the north

In popular Finsbury Park in London, £250,000 will get you a 25 square metre studio apartment (currently listed on Rightmove), while for Londoners who want to stay in the south and within around a 90 minute commute of the city, the same budget would pay for a two-bedroom terrace near the train station in Maidstone, Kent.

By contrast, £250,000 in Manchester would get you the keys to a large, detached four-bedroom house in the suburb of Pendlebury, or chop around £100,000 off your budget and you could invest in a brand new apartment in Liverpool city centre from just £136,000.

On average, according to the statistics, London homeowners leaving the capital for the north-west of the country makes up 7% of the migration, with the average amount spent on a property there standing at just £149,530. Those quitting the capital to remain in the south-east, at the other end of the scale, spend an average of £575,010 on a new home.

Stamp duty relief goes further outside London

While the stamp duty relief brought in last year means that more first-time buyers are able to stay in London, the number and quality of properties that fall beneath the £300,000 ceiling is significantly higher outside the capital. Beveridge added: “Raising a deposit remains a hurdle for many, which helps explain why increasing numbers of first-time buyers who leave London are heading north.”

Earlier this year, Office for National Statistics (ONS) research revealed that young professionals in particular were migrating out of the capital at a faster rate than they were arriving in some cases, with cities such as Manchester and Birmingham benefiting from the London “brain drain”.

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