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High mortgage rates and house prices could cause 54,000 to leave London this year

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

An estimated 53,780 Londoners could leave the capital to buy a home elsewhere because of increased mortgage rates and property prices, an estate agency has predicted.

Research from Hamptons on outmigration from London found that Londoners purchased 7.7% of homes outside the capital in the first six months of this year. 

This accounted for 32,600 homes and if the rate of purchases continues, this could rise to nearly 54,000. 

Some 78% of these buyers were first-timers and movers. 

The proportion of homes bought by Londoners was slightly down on the 7.9% share seen in 2021 and 2022, but above the 6.9% average recorded from 2015 to 2019. 

Hamptons said the drop in purchases was also due to declining housing market activity. 

Some 30% of all first-time buyers who relocated came from London, a record proportion and up from 27% last year. This was more than double the 12% of first-time buyers looking outside the capital a decade ago. 

Moving to affordable areas 

The average first-time buyer moving away from London was found to have travelled 25 miles away from where they were living, up from 23 miles last year and 14.3 miles a decade ago. 

By moving away from the capital, a first-time buyer with a 15% deposit could save £8,656 in mortgage payments every year. 

Of all the first-time buyers based in London, 37% left the city, which was the second largest proportion since Hamptons began collecting data.  

Among all buyers leaving the capital, 39% moved to the South East, down from 45% last year, and the first time since 2009 that this proportion has dropped below 40 per cent. 

A third of Londoners relocated to the East of England, up from 28% last year.  

Meanwhile, areas such as Epping Forest, Chelmsford and Stevenage are among the places seeing the biggest rise in buyers from London since 2019. 

Getting more for their money

Of those who leave London, 85% moved to a more affordable area. This could collectively save them £357m each year in mortgage payments based on current rates. This compares to a collective saving of £157m for Londoners who left in 2019. 

Hamptons said London leavers were also moving to reduce or pay off their mortgage, as 18% of people who left the city purchased their home without a mortgage, up from a low of 14% in 2020. 

Affordability pressures continue to limit the buying power of London leavers, indicated by the homes being purchased. So far, Londoners have spent an average of £429,800 on their non-London home which is just over £60,000 less than people who left the capital last year. Also, 37% of London leavers bought a one or two-bed home, up from a third last year. 

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: “Higher mortgage rates have paused the unwinding of arguably the biggest Covid-induced trend in the housing market – London outmigration. Rather, this year London outmigration has increasingly been driven by need over want as higher mortgage rates reduce buyers’ budgets, pushing them in search of smaller homes in more affordable areas. Most of these movers still look to retain strong links with the capital.   

“This has supported values of smaller homes in some of the more affordable towns within an hour’s commute of London.” 

She added: “Looking ahead, the likelihood that mortgage rates will stay higher for longer may keep the pace of London outmigration up. We’re also reaching the point where a large number of households who bought a home at the peak of the London market between 2014-2016 might be looking to move over the next few years.   

“And with property prices in parts of the capital lower today than when they bought, trading the city for a cheaper area outside the M25 might be the only option for those needing to upsize.”