73,950 homebuyers left London in 2020 in four-year high

Escape to the commuter belt: 73,950 homebuyers left London in 2020 in four-year high moving an average of 41 miles away from the capital with Sevenoaks in Kent the most popular choice

  • The average London leaver spent £372,860 on their home outside the capital as homebuyers left the city
  • Homebuyers left London for Windsor and Maidenhead, Oxford, Rushmoor, Eastbourne, Wokingham and more
  • There was a clear increase Londoners moving out of the city since beginning of the coronavirus pandemic 

An estimated 73,950 homebuyers left London in 2020 in a four year high, with people leaving the capital for the commuter belt.   

It was the highest total since around 78,170 properties were bought elsewhere in Britain by London leavers in 2016.

The average London leaver spent £372,860 on their home outside the capital, the research from estate agent and property services company Hamptons found.

On average, Londoners selling up in order to buy outside the city move 41 miles, up from just 28 miles during the first three months of the year.

An estimated 73,950 homebuyers left London in 2020 in a four year high, with people leaving the capital for the commuter belt

SEVENOAKS: There was a 39 per cent increase in homebuyers moving from London to the Kent town in 2020, where house prices are £442,990 on average. Pictured: A house for sale in the town for £425,000

WINDSOR AND MAINDENHEAD: There was a 27 per cent increase in homebuyers moving from London to the Berkshire unitary authority in 2020, where house prices are £475,630 on average. Pictured: A house for sale in Windsor for £485,000

OXFORD: There was a 17 per cent increase in homebuyers moving from London to the Oxfordshire city in 2020, where house prices are £409,350 on average. Pictured: A house for sale in Oxford for £425,000

The area with the biggest increases in the share of homes bought by Londoners this year was Sevenoaks in Kent.

It was followed by Windsor and Maidenhead, Oxford, Rushmoor, Eastbourne, Wokingham, Stevenage, Luton, Epsom and Ewell, Brighton and Hove, Gravesham, and Watford, the report said.

First-time buyers from London tend to retain more of their ties to the capital, moving shorter distances typically, Hamptons said. 

Since May, the average first-time buyer leaving the capital moved 26 miles away.

Differences in distance travelled were also found in the types of homes that London leavers choose, with someone buying a two-bedroom property moving an average of 34 miles on average, while someone purchasing a four-bedroom home travels 43 miles typically.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: ‘Despite Covid-19 closing the housing market for seven weeks, the number of homes bought by Londoners outside the capital has risen to the highest level in four years.

‘While leaving London has been a rite of passage for many – often families reaching life stage milestones – the effects of lockdown and the desire for space seems to have heightened this drift.

‘Meanwhile, the lure of a stamp duty holiday acted as an impetus for more buyers to bring future planned moves forward.

‘The prospect of home-working more regularly has also meant that London leavers are moving further than ever before. 

‘The average London leaver moved 10 miles further than in 2019 as buyers favour space over commutability.

‘We expect this outmigration trend to continue into the first half of next year too.’

She added: ‘Given the housing market has been anything but normal since the onset of Covid, we expect to see the total number of homes bought by London leavers next year hit 2016 levels.’

EPSOM: There was a 17 per cent increase in homebuyers moving from London to the Surrey town in 2020, where house prices are £465,650 on average. Pictured: A house for sale in Epsom for £450,000

BRIGHTON AND HOVE: There was a 17 per cent increase in homebuyers moving from London to the East Sussex city in 2020, where house prices are £368,170 on average. Pictured: A flat for sale in Epsom for £395,000

WATFORD: There was a nine per cent increase in homebuyers moving from London to the Hertfordshire town in 2020, where house prices are £355,200 on average. Pictured: A flat for sale in Watford for £320,000

On average, Londoners selling up in order to buy outside the capital move 41 miles in 2020

There was a clear increase Londoners moving out of the city since beginning of the coronavirus pandemic

There was a clear increase Londoners moving out of the city since beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the first half of 2020, London leavers bought 6.9 per cent of homes sold outside the capital, equating to 24,480 sales. 

In the second half of the year, this figure rose to 7.8 per cent, with twice as many sales: 49,470.

 In H2 2020 alone, Londoners purchased £18.4bn worth of property outside the capital, more than in any full year between 2008 and 2013. 

What are the average house prices in the areas Londoners moved to? 

  • Sevenoaks £442,990
  • Windsor and Maidenhead £475,630
  • Oxford £409,350
  • Rushmoor £282,340
  • Eastbourne £238,170
  • Wokingham £414,950
  • Stevenage £280,190
  • Luton £229,410
  • Epsom and Ewell £465,650
  • Brighton and Hove £368,170
  • Gravesham £278,880
  • Watford £355,200 

Source: Hamptons & ONS 

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