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First-time Buyer

Home movers flee London

Owain Thomas
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Owain Thomas

London housing transactions continue to fall as more buyers take the step to move out of the capital.

According to data from London Central Portfolio (LCP), the number of housing transactions in Greater London in the year to July fell to just 88,189 – a level not seen since pre-2009.

This is down by almost 20,000 transactions from the 2014 peak.

The 6.5% fall in all residential transactions was even more marked in the new build sector, where just 14,602 purchases were made, a fall of 12.1% year-on-year.

The prime central London market was also hit hard with annual transactions falling 8.3% to 3,831, again a level not seen since the financial crisis.

Prime new build was the worst hit market with transactions falling 25.3% across the year.

New build properties, despite their significant fall in transaction numbers, maintained a 90% premium in prime areas and a 32% premium across the rest of the capital.

Heading north

Separate data from Hamptons International found that Londoners bought more than 30,000 homes outside the capital in the first half of 2018, 16% more than the same period last year.

While the south of England remained popular, the search to find cheaper properties or better value is pushing more buyers to look further away from the capital.

Two out of five (38%) London leavers moved to the South East, but this is down 3% compared to the first half of 2017 as affordability tightens.

The East of England is the next most popular destination with 30% of London leavers moving to the region and one in every six homes sold in the region sold to a London leaver (16%).

However, as more people are priced out of the South, the proportion of Londoners leaving for Northern England or the Midlands has more than tripled since 2008.

In the first six months of 2018, one in five London leavers moved to the North or Midlands (21%), up from just 6% a decade ago.

The average Londoner buying outside the capital spent £424,610 on their new home, 1.6 times more than a buyer from elsewhere.

Bigger move

Hamptons International research analyst Aneisha Beveridge said affordability was pushing more Londoners out of the capital.

“The proportion of London leavers heading North has tripled in the last 10 years,” she said.

“More people are making a bigger move and buying a larger home sooner to avoid having to pay stamp duty on additional moves as they trade up. But for many, this means heading further North.

“However, more first-time buyers are staying in the capital to purchase their first home than last year. The savings from stamp duty relief and the availability of Help to Buy has meant that more first-time buyers are able to remain in London than before.

“But raising a deposit remains a hurdle for many, which helps explain why increasing numbers of first-time buyers who leave London are heading North.”