City workers’ mass exodus from the UK’s biggest town and cities in search of space and tranquility continues, new data from Hamptons International Lettings suggests. Throughout the course of 2020, it is estimated that Londoners seeking sanctuary from city life purchased almost 74,000 homes outside the capital.
Outmigration from densely populated urban centers continues to be the major real estate trend of the moment, with millions having indicated their intent to purchase properties in rural, countryside or coastal locations.
The latest figures from Hamptons International Lettings suggest that 73,950 homes outside the capital were purchased by London leavers this year. This equates to the largest proportion of Londoners fleeing the city in more than four years – despite the housing market having been shut down in its entirety for more than seven weeks.
Had the real estate market not been shut during lockdown, it is estimated that the figure would be significantly higher.
Shifting Property Purchase Intent
In total, Londoners purchasing properties outside the city spent a combined £27.6 billion on homes away from the capital – the highest figure recorded since 2007. To put it into context, the total value of all residential property sales in the northwest of England last year reached just £24.8 billion.
During the first two quarters of the year, just under 7% of properties sold outside London were purchased by London leavers – somewhere in the region of 24,500 sales. This then skyrocketed during the closing two quarters of the year, as the dangers posed by the pandemic grew along with the appeal of less densely populated rural and coastal retreats.
As a result, 7.8% of residential properties sold outside London went to London leavers during this six-month period – just under 49,500 properties. The value of which came to around £18.4 billion – more than the total property purchases by Londoners outside the capital for any full year between 2008 and 2013.
Seeking Sanctuary Further Afield
Hamptons International Lettings’ newly published data also suggests that Londoners setting their sights on properties away from the city are also purchasing properties significantly further away from the capital than before.
During 2020, Londoners purchasing properties outside the city moved an average of 40 miles from the capital for the first time in more than 10 years. During Q1
of this year, the average distance moved by Londoners stood at approximately 28 miles.
Interestingly, first-time buyers looking to get on to the property ladder for the first time proved more likely to stay loyal to the capital – at least in terms of distance. Those living in London who purchased properties for the first time outside the capital moved an average of 26 miles, according to the data published by Hamptons International Lettings.
Their study also noted an uptick in the number of movers setting their sights on larger properties with private outdoor living spaces, with fewer movers looking to purchase small homes or flats than in previous years.