Tired of life? No, just tired of London: record £55bn spent buying homes outside the capital

Londoners bought more than 112,000 homes outside the capital this year –in the biggest “great escape” from the capital since 2007 come la coronavirus pandemic drove people to seek more space to comfortably work from home.

The number of homes bought by Londoners outside the capital increased by 62% paragonato a 2020 and is the equivalent of creating two new cities roughly the size of Leeds, according to estate agent Hamptons.

Aneisha Beveridge, the firm’s head of research, disse: “City leavers have changed the geography of not only the commuter belt, but smaller towns and cities across southern England.”

Beveridge said that while most (57%) of those leaving London were selling a home in the capital and buying a new one elsewhere, a record number of London renters were buying their first home in a more affordable location.

“The rise of flexible working coupled with affordability barriers have meant that a record 40% of first-time buyers now leave the capital to buy their first home," lei disse. “The capital’s loss is the home counties’ gain with these buyers prepared to move 24% further than before the pandemic began, taking their wealth and experience with them.”

The research shows that the switch to flexible working has encouraged Londoners to buy homes further outside the capital than in pre-pandemic times. The average London leaver moved 34.7 miles away from Charing Cross (used as the marker for the centre of the capital) – 6.4 miglia (o 23%) further than previously.

Alice Fry, a public relations consultant, and her husband Ed, a finance director, and their three-year-old and seven-month-old children, Willa and Cressida, joined the exodus, moving from a two-bedroom flat in South Kensington to a six-bedroom Georgian house in Arundel, West Sussex.

Fry said the family had planned to move out of London “in theory” in a few years time when Willa would be starting school, but the pandemic accelerated their plan.

“After spending three months of the first lockdown at my parents’ house in Sussex, we realised that the way of life is just much better, especially for children," lei disse. “So we shifted the house search out of London to the country, and then I found out I was pregnant again, and we were definitely moving out of London.

“We got a lot more for our money. We weren’t looking for acres and acres of land, but we have got a nice big garden and the countryside on our doorstep.”

The family visits London often, but Fry said lockdown had taught them that more space, a garden and easy access to wide open natural spaces is “more important to us than the buzz of the big city”.

“We love London so much – the convenience, and all the excitement that comes with it – but the quality of life is just much better here and we can get to London in no time and enjoy it for its best bits without having to live with its worse bits.”

The departing Londoners have bought 112,780 homes outside the capital, so far this year, dal 69,810 nel 2020. They spent £54.9bn, the highest annual spend on record and more than double that London leavers spent in 2015. The big increase in total spending reflects soaring property prices, which have been lifted by the government’s temporary cut to stamp duty. The average UK house price has risen from £450,460 in 2020 to £486,890 in 2021.

Henry Pryor, an independent property buying agent who has helped find properties for many Londoners leaving the capital this year, disse: “It’s no surprise that the housing market has been on fire this year – cheap and easy money has rained down on those with a good enough credit rating to qualify.

“Covid has made most people reappraise what they want from a home. We now want our homes to do more – we need them to be places we can work from, that can be converted into home schools, that have flexible spaces if one of us needs to isolate, that has outdoor areas in case we can only see family and friends outside and that has recreational space in case we have to spend our holidays in them.

“Many people don’t need to be so close to their work and commutes can be longer and coincidently we want better services like faster broadband to make these homes work better.

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