Four out of 10 London movers plan to buy outside the capital


  • New figures show 42% of Londoners looking to buy in the next year are planning to leave the city
  • Of this group, a third of them (31%) say they want to move to the countryside
  • Just under half (48%) say the capital is too expensive to buy a home, while 28% say the cost of living is too high
  • 40% still plan to commute in to the city, with a quarter of those (23%) hoping to keep their commute to under 45 minutes
  • Rightmove data shows that for those looking to buy near to London, Watford is the most popular place overall, while Southend-On-Sea is the most popular seaside destination and Greenhithe, Kent is the most in-demand village

More than a third of Londoners hoping to buy a home in the next year are planning to abandon the capital and buy outside the city, new Rightmove data has revealed.

Research from the UK's number one property website shows that 42% of prospective buyers from London plan to move away from the city, with 48% of these respondents citing London as being too expensive to buy and 28% of people saying the cost of living is too high.

The average asking price of a property coming to market in the typical first-time buyer sector (two bedrooms or fewer) in London is currently £479,211, which would mean a 10% mortgage deposit of almost £50,000.

Despite prices softening in the last few years, for Greater London as a whole the average asking price of property is still £617,208, while for Inner London this figure increases to £761,724, and for Outer London average asking prices are £514,328.

Of the Londoners planning to buy outside of the capital in the next year, a third of respondents (31%) revealed their motivation to leave was driven by a desire to move to the countryside.

Of the Londoners planning to buy outside the city in the next year, 44% of people are looking to leave the capital altogether and don't plan to commute back in for work.

However, 40% of people do still plan to travel in for work, while 17% were unsure. From the group of respondents planning to commute into London, a quarter (23%) are looking to keep their commute to 45 minutes or less, with the majority (59%) hoping to commute in under an hour.

Rightmove's property expert Miles Shipside said: This research shows that despite the spate of recent price falls in London, the majority of those intending to move in the year ahead still find London prohibitively expensive.  For over half of London's movers either the cost of property or the cost of living is driving them to move further afield, with perhaps a view over fields being the goal of nearly a third who are looking to move to the countryside. The reward of cheaper living and a better lifestyle means that some are willing to face a longer commute back in to work.

With a maximum of an hour travel being the limit for six out of ten of those, locations within that commuting distance look set to have their property prices driven upwards by an influx of migrating Londoners who may be nicely surprised how much they can get for their money. Those commuting back in must not forget to build in additional transport costs, but those totally breaking free of the capital could be feeling quite flush for a change. There has always been substantial movement both inwards and outwards of the capital, though if there is an imbalance of movers out exceeding movers in, then it can exert downward price pressure.

Agent's view Aneisha Beveridge, Head of Research at Hamptons International, added: Londoners are on the move and heading out to the country. While affordability remains a key driver for many of these moves, buyers can get much more for their money out of London than in.  Lifestyle choices including space, schools and quality of life are high on purchasers' lists too.  And flexible working, faster broadband and better transport links have helped make a move out of the capital more possible than ever. Over the last 12 months, 43% of prime London movers said goodbye to the capital, a record proportion, and significantly higher than the 33% low of 2013. The majority of prime London leavers moved to another town nearby, but a rising proportion are choosing the rural life and moving to the country.  In fact, 39% of prime London leavers moved to the country in the last 12 months, up from 37% in 2017.

Top ten places where Londoners are looking to move to within commutable distance
1 Watford
2 Dartford
3 Epsom
4 Slough
5 Brentwood
6 Grays
7 Waltham Cross
8 Loughton
9 St. Albans
10 Gravesend


Top ten seaside towns where Londoners are looking to move to
1 Southend-On-Sea
2 Hove
3 Hastings
4 Bournemouth
5 Westliff-On-Sea
6 St. Leonards-On-Sea
7 Margate
8 Southampton
9 Leigh-On-Sea
10 Folkestone


Top ten villages where Londoners are looking to move to
1 Greenhithe
2 Sunbury-On-Thames
3 Thames Ditton
4 Warlingham
5 Whyteleafe
6 Iver
7 Tadworth
8 Cobham
9 Shepperton
10 Ashtead
The survey was carried out among Rightmove users between 2nd May 2019 and 17th May 2019. Respondents were people saying they are planning to buy in the next 12 months and are currently living in London.
The most in demand locations are based on data collected between 1st July 2018 and 30th June 2019, with demand being based on email enquiries to properties within each location, from home hunters who stated that they currently live in London. The locations included are from the South West, South East and East of England to define areas still commutable to London.

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