Londoners flee capital for the regions
London’s population looks set to fall for the first time in more than 30 years, driven by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and people reassessing where they live during the crisis
London’s population looks set to fall for the first time in more than 30 years, driven by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and people reassessing where they live during the crisis, illustrated by the growing number of homes being purchased outside the capital by Londoners,.
Homebuyer trends have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, as reflected by the latest figures provided by Hamptons.
The increase in home working is encouraging growing numbers of people in London to consider moving elsewhere, with many reluctant to return to pre-pandemic work conditions.
The accountancy firm PwC recently said that the number of people living in the capital could drop by more than 300,000 this year, from a record level of about 9 million in 2020, to as low as 8.7 million, which would be the first annual drop since 1988.
During the first six months of this year, Londoners purchased 61,830 homes outside the capital, the highest half-year figure since our records began in 2006, according to Hamptons.
So far this year Londoners made up 8.6% of all buyers outside the capital, the highest proportion on record and up from 6.6% in 2020.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: “Pandemic-fuelled city outmigration shows no signs of slowing. Despite lockdowns easing and offices and restaurants reopening, Londoners have continued to re-evaluate where they want to live, with many bringing future-planned moves forward. While London now attracts more buyers from outside the capital than pre-pandemic, the numbers are still low relative to those leaving, meaning London’s population is likely to fall this year.
“The mix of those buying beyond the capital though has changed, with first-time buyers more likely to leave London than ever before. While second home buyers and investors have been spurred on by the stamp duty holiday, much of the uplift in Londoners looking outside the M25 over the last year has come from those buying their first home. This has been largely driven by affordability and flexible working patterns that have enabled people to work from home. The capital’s loss has been the Home Counties gain.
“If current trends continue, we calculate that by the end of this year Londoners will have purchased 108,000 homes outside the capital. This will mark the first time that this figure has surpassed the100k mark since 2007, a year when nearly 1.7million homes were sold across Great Britain. But given many Londoners have bought forward moves, and overall activity is predicted to slow, we expect this number to fall back over the next few years. Although it’s still likely to sit above the 72,000 average we saw in the three years leading up to the pandemic.”