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Increase in buyers looking to move out-of-city

There are signs of a shift in the percentage of people considering a move from the city they currently live in, with agents also reporting increased interest in smaller towns.

This time last year, 42% of Londoners enquiring about a property were looking to move outside of the capital, and this has risen to 51% this April.

There is a similar trend in Edinburgh, where 60% of residents are looking to move outside, up from 53% in April 2019. In Birmingham, half of those living there are enquiring inside the city and half outside the city, up from 45% looking outside the city last year.

There are similar shifts in other cities including Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Bristol.

Agents’ views

Reece Giles, branch manager at Douglas Allen Estate Agents in Brentwood, said:

“We’ve definitely seen an uplift in people looking to move out of the more built-up areas from nearby London boroughs. Interest has kind of gone through the roof, really. We’ve got lots of potential buyers coming to us from places like Hornchurch, Upminster and East Ham who are looking to move to Brentwood. We’ve got lots more green spaces and you get more value for money here because we’re that little bit further out from London. I think maybe some people in smaller flats want to see what they can find elsewhere. The proof will be in the pudding, but from what we are seeing right now, it seems that people are genuine about wanting to escape the inner city because that’s not the life they want anymore. I think the market overall is still very resilient. Buyers and sellers who have their heart set on moving still want to move. We are doing online valuations quite regularly and I think people can recognise that this is an unusual break in the market rather than a downfall, so I think it’s unlikely we’ll see many price renegotiations happening.”

Helen Burley, sales manager at Fine & Country in Woldingham, said:

“We’ve definitely seen a trend of people moving from the city to live in our village. The people that we’ve been speaking with since lockdown who want to move from London absolutely can’t wait to move to the village. When you’ve got kids in lockdown that dream of having a big garden becomes even more important. I think this whole situation is making people reassess what is important in their home life. I think they’re seeing that there is more to a house than they previously thought. Out here your money goes further. In London you’ve generally got smaller houses and smaller gardens, but here we’re only 30 minutes from Victoria station, yet you can get houses with lots of acreage, countryside views and period properties.”

Mark Collins, owner of Collins Independent Estate Agents in Guildford, said:

“I’ve heard of a lot of people paying for short term lets in Surrey for six months just to get out of the city. We’ve seen lots of interest in the sales side from people up in London. People are realising that they don’t need to be in the thick of it to be operational. People are naturally working from home more, because it’s been made possible. Our registrations are up and I definitely think the trend of people moving out of London will continue.”

We’ve also seen signs that home-movers are determined to move post lockdown. Read more here.