Nearly a fifth more Londoners are buying homes outside the capital than before the pandemic, research shows.
Londoners bought 40,540 out-of-town homes in the first half of this year, 19 percent more than the 2015 to 2019 average, which was 34,140, according to research from Hamptons.
While the number of homes bought has fallen annually as the housing market cooled, the rate at which people continue to leave London has remained the same.
Cities near London were popular with buyers with popular destinations including the neighboring Epping Forrest
Londoners bought 7.9 percent of all homes sold outside the capital from January to the end of June this year.
This was the same share as in the first half of 2021 and higher than 6.9 percent in the first six months of 2019.
If this pace continues, Londoners as a whole will buy 88,210 homes outside the capital by 2022, Hamptons said.
This is in line with the total number of homes sold in Yorkshire & The Humber last year (88,506) and 18 per cent more than pre-Covid times when London outside the capital bought an average of 74,980 a year between 2015 and 2019.
However, many of those who left London did not go far. A third of the movers moved to Epping Forest, an Essex borough adjacent to the capital to the northeast.
22 percent of movers chose to head west and chose Slough as their destination, while 21 percent settled in South Oxfordshire.
London has seen the slowest real estate growth of any part of the country since the pandemic, as working from home allowed some buyers to move further from their offices.
In the UK, house prices rose by 12.8 percent in the year to May 2022 through May 2022, but houses in London only grew by 8.2 percent.
Londoners have continued to leave the capital to buy their first homes as mover numbers remain above pre-pandemic levels
New buyers leave in record numbers
According to Hamptons, new buyers made a record number of purchases for those moving outside of London.
They accounted for 28 percent of the total in the first six months of 2022, up from 22 percent in 2019 and just 13 percent a decade ago.
Thurrock was the most popular destination to move to among new buyers, with more than a third (34 percent) of the group choosing the Essex area.
But many chose to stay closer to the capital with Dartford (28 percent), Medway (20 percent) and Basildon (18 percent) all popular choices for first-time buyers.
By comparison, only half (50 percent) of property bought by a Londoner outside the capital was bought by someone who had a house for sale, up from 59 percent in 2019 and 74 percent a decade ago.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: ‘It is becoming increasingly clear that one of the biggest Covid-related housing market trends – moving out of London for the country – could be here to stay.
“Despite more people returning to London offices this year, the pace at which households have moved out of and out of the city has remained fast.
“While last year families moving to get more space accounted for nearly three in five Londoners buying outside the capital, this year’s figures were set by new buyers, many of whom rented in the capital.
Half of the properties bought by a Londoner outside the capital have been bought by someone who has a house for sale
The average Londoner moved 35 miles, according to Hamptons, which is the equivalent of trading Fulham for Farnham or Canary Wharf for Chelmsford. That was one and a half kilometers further than in 2021.
“The distance London movers travel is likely to continue to increase until at least 2024 as house price growth in the capital lags behind the rest of the country,” Beveridge said.
There is also an increase in the proportion of Londoners investing in owner-occupied homes outside the capital.
Investors made up 19 percent of Londoners buying outside the capital this year, up from 15 percent in 2019.
The pull of higher yields further north has led to 28 percent of these investors buying buy-to-lets in the north of England, up from just 11 percent a decade ago.
This is reflected in the fact that the average investor has bought 102.8 miles from their London home so far this year, up from 77 miles in 2017.
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