London is often touted as one of the most appealing places to live in the country thanks to its reputation as one of the world’s best cities when it comes to jobs. However, the capital is also home to the most expensive property market in the entire country so with the world-class jobs come house prices that many can only dream of paying.
This widening gap between London and the rest of the UK, when it comes to property prices, is one of the main reasons why both homeowners and first-time buyers are beginning to look outside of the capital when buying a house. Pair that with the increasing number of property developers working on exciting projects in up-and-coming locations, and it’s easy to see why leaving London is such an exciting prospect.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Londoners left the capital last year at the highest rate since it began collecting the data in 2012. In 2018, numbers swelled to 340,498 with only 237,270 people moving to London in the same period, leaving a gap of over 100,000.
The reality is that house prices in the capital are simply too high for most Londoners to afford. For those already on the property ladder, they see a move out of the city as a way of moving up the property ladder, as they can easily sell their London property and purchase something far larger, for the same price. As a rough guide, the asking price for detached houses in a good neighborhood in northern cities is around the same as the market price for a two-bedroom flat in the east of London.
Even with the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the slump the local housing market has experienced this year, London simply cannot compete with cities like Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester when it comes to attracting first-time buyers. The latest data released by HM Land Registry shows that in March 2019 the average house price in London was £463,283, while in the North West this was nearly four times lower at £159,471. Even lower, the average price for properties in the North East was £123,046, making it the cheapest region to buy property in England.
Cost of Living
House prices aren’t the only factor driving people away from the capital. While London receives a large influx of people each year for both study and work reasons, those same people very quickly find the cost of living unmanageable in the long term. According to the most recent data, the cost of living in London per calendar month is £1,676.51 for an individual. In comparison, those living up north fare much better with the cost of living per month coming in at £925.24 for Leeds, £963.42 for Birmingham, and £1,017.62 for Manchester. Combine this with wages that are not much lower than what someone can expect in London, and it makes for a much higher level of disposable income.
As the capital, it should come as no surprise that not only is London the largest, but also one of the most densely populated cities in the country. This makes commuting both to, and inside of, London a logistical nightmare – and rather costly. Despite the congestion charge that was introduced over a decade ago, London is frequently rated as one of the worst cities in the world for commuters. Add this on to the cost of living and the incredibly high house prices and it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing to leave London, opting for the northern cities instead.
In conclusion, people are leaving London for a number of key reasons. In the current climate, leaving the capital offers the prospect of access to better schools, a better quality of life, and a more scenic location, for a much lower cost.