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London set to lose more tenants as renters seek better value

More than a quarter of tenants living in London are considering leaving the city within the next 12 months to improve their quality of life.

Generation Rent makes up a huge proportion of the country’s households, and demand for rental property is currently huge. Many landlords continue to report being inundated with viewing requests when their properties become available, but there are also growing trends emerging in terms of location.

A new report from Pocket Living, which surveyed 25-45-year-old renters living in London, discovered that 27% were planning to up sticks and relocate within the year. In the 30-34-year-old age bracket specifically, this increased to 31% who wanted to leave the capital.

The overall level of tenants looking to leave London behind in favour of either the outskirts or even much further afield across the country has increased by 11% since the survey was done last year – and the ongoing cost of living crisis is believed to be a major factor.

London becoming less affordable

It is no secret that London is one of the most expensive places to live in the UK – whether you’re a tenant or a homebuyer. Life in the capital comes with plenty of plus-sides, of course, from its outstanding employment prospects to its world-renowned cultural and entertainment offering.

But increasingly those who rent there are considering their options elsewhere, and Pocket Living has pointed out that this is a ‘second wave’ exodus after the first one that was provoked by Covid.

The cost of living in London is pricing many people out, according to the survey. More than two thirds (69%) of respondents said the high prices are delaying their plans to buy a home. A further 60% claim to have reduced the number of times they eat out each month.

Meanwhile, around half of renters said they are paying less money into their savings now, while 54% plan to lower their household heating usage.

Marc Vlessing, chief executive officer at Pocket Living, comments: “London’s younger generation suffered in silence during the COVID-19 pandemic and they are now being thrown into a cost-of-living crisis, so it sadly comes as no surprise that more than a quarter of those who don’t own a home here are considering leaving London within the year.

“Many of those polled will have lived in London for many years, if not their entire lives, contributing to its beating heart. Yet a lack of genuinely affordable, high-quality homes is restricting them from buying a property in an area they love and currently call home.

“A situation where young talented people are now being forced to leave the capital because the prospect of owning a home here is so bleak is one of the clearest indicators so far that London faces being gradually levelled down.”

Better prospects elsewhere

While many renters in the capital opt to leave in order to be able to afford a first home, millions choose to rent elsewhere in the country. This allows increased flexibility, as well as the chance to “try before you buy” in a new area.

Although London will always remain an incredibly sought after place to live for many, the cost of living crisis alongside high house prices and rents will continue to squeeze many out. What’s more, growing numbers of businesses are opening new premises in parts of the north and the Midlands, drastically improving talent pools and job prospects in these areas.

Earlier this year, Manchester beat London in The Economist’s list of the world’s most liveable cities. It came in at 26th place in the Global Liveability Index, up by 26 places and securing its spot as the most liveable place in the UK.

The index looks at five broad factors: stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure. The city’s high score is a good indicator of why so many tenants and property investors choose Manchester as a place to live and invest.

Birmingham is another key city that is known to attract high numbers of ‘London leavers’. Like Manchester, its job prospects are improving all the time, meaning people don’t need to move to the capital in order to secure a top job and career path.

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