In 2020, people leaving London purchased 73,950 homes outside of the capital. According to one leading agency in the capital, this is the highest number of London leavers in four years. When you take on board the housing market was closed for seven weeks in Spring 2020, this is a considerable return.
It is even more startling when you consider the value of property bought by London leavers outside of the capital. A total of £27,6 billion was spent, and this is the largest amount since 2007.
The research states; “While leaving London has been a rite of passage for many, often families reaching life stage milestones, the effects of lockdown and the desire for space seems to have heightened this drift.”
Lockdown changed many people’s lives
The first lockdown left many people re-evaluating their living arrangements, and of course, we have endured further periods since then. Even households who were on the fence or not interested in moving at first have likely returned to the decision since then.
You also need to factor in the stamp duty holiday when looking at the housing market of 2020. There was a benefit for many buyers in London, and it is likely many people leaving Inner London moved to outer reaches and areas of the capital.
With many people looking for the best of both worlds, it is likely a lot of people swapped a short commute for a still manageable but longer commute. If this is balanced out by nicer surroundings and more space, it is an act many people agree with.
Remote working is on the rise
Of course, with remote working growing in popularity, there will be less need for many people to spend as much time in the office. A longer commute doesn’t seem as arduous if it is only required once a week or a few times a month compared to five times a week.
As we move forward, many companies will be keen to allow remote working, and there is no denying this could change the shape of the London property market.
Since the first lockdown, there has been a clear increase in Londoners moving outside of the capital. The stamp duty holiday has also likely pushed more buyers to bring future planned moves forward.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, says: “We expect this outmigration trend to continue into the first half of next year too. But usually as prices in the capital begin to flatline, which we forecast to happen in the second half of 2021, more Londoners decide stay put. Even so, given the housing market has been anything but normal since the onset of Covid, we expect to see the total number of homes bought by London leavers next year hit 2016 levels.”
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