Swapping cityscape for landscape: Almost 65,000 people leave London for greener pastures

14th November 2017
Swapping cityscape for landscape Almost 65,000 people leave London for greener pastures

Generation Rent are turning to rural communities as they leave the capital behind in search of lower living costs and calmer surroundings when buying a home.

Although the city’s population has continued to grow year-on year, net migration away from London hit 93,000 in the year ending June 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That is an 80% increase from 2012’s figures.

Where are people moving to?

Over the same period, 291,623 people chose to leave London for new surroundings, according to research from Countrywide. Whilst data has shown that the areas which have seen the largest influx of new buyers are:

  1. Slough
  2. Thurrock
  3. Broxbourne
  4. St Albans
  5. Canterbury
  6. Elmbridge
  7. Oxford
  8. Basildon
  9. South Oxfordshire
  10.  Luton

The number of people leaving London has more than doubled in comparison to the 137,802 people who relocated from the city a decade prior, in 2006. The House Price Index for August 2017 shows the average house prices for:

  • England at £243,520
  • London at £484,362
  • The South West at £324,983

For those looking to reduce the cost of buying a home, the difference between rural areas and London leave little to consider.

But there are many reasons for leaving the skyscrapers behind and looking to more rural scenery.

Reason for migration

Key reasons for leaving the city include:

  • Lower living costs: As well as the tangible difference in mortgage repayments, areas outside of the capital benefit from lower transport, food and council tax bills. According to the ONS in the financial year ending March 2016, the average cost of living in London was £652.40 per week; £125.20 more than the national average of £527.20. In the North West, this fell to £472.50.
  • Comparable career prospects: According to data from TheCityUK, London has 751,000 employees in financial and professional services, adding £80.9 billion to the industry. Meanwhile, 215,000 employees in the sector, adding £11.4 billion to the industry. Historically, the best job prospects have been in the capital, but with the growth of technology and expanding markets, living in London is no longer a prerequisite for a good career. If working in the city is important, however, the most popular relocation area, Slough, offers great commuting options back into the city, without the cost of living there.
  • Change of lifestyle: The bright lights of the big city can be exciting for younger generations. But, when it comes to planting roots and starting a family, many people are looking to more relaxed settings and safe areas to do so. Money Supermarket’s Family Living Index rates London among the worst areas to bring up children, whilst Oxford is in the top 10, alongside Bath and Newcastle Upon Tyne.
  • Being closer to family: For some, moving to the city for better career prospects or education has taken them away from their hometowns. In 2015, TSB reported that 47% of people had stayed near their home town or returned to it once they finished university.
  • Reduced crime rates: In August 2017, 533 crimes were reported in the City of London area. Crime rates were much lower in more rural areas, with 231 in Carlisle city centre and 343 in Slough in the same month. Of course, the size and populations of these places are vastly different, but there are many people who wish to live in quieter areas, with lower crime rates.

There are many factors to consider before choosing a property to buy. Always seek professional advice and make sre that your finances are planned to support a move to the town of your dreams.