Two out of three Londoners want to quit the city to release cash and live in a country property — but it mustn’t be too remote, a survey reveals today. Last year about 66,000 households left the capital — the highest number since 2007.
About a third of those who plan to move in the next five years say they will stay within the South-East, while one in 10 plans to move to East Anglia, and one in 12 is eyeing up the West Country, according to the research from estate agent Strutt & Parker.
Strutt & Parker’s head of research, Stephanie McMahon, says Londoners want to escape crime, pollution and urban sprawl, but the big driver is finance. More than half of those surveyed said they want to cash in on their London home to free up money, both for themselves and to help their children buy their own place.
The average deposit put down by a first-time buyer in London has topped £90,000 according to the latest data from Halifax. Banks are now rolling out special parent-supported loans.
McMahon says Londoners are increasingly keen to escape the city’s high prices, but, accustomed to having everything they need on the doorstep, many will only consider moving to rural locations with good amenities and communities.
The study reveals that a move to the country is not necessarily driven by a desire for a big house. A third will only be able to afford a flat outside London, and less than half said they were looking for a home bigger than the one they were leaving. However, they all wanted a better quality of life and some extra cash.
“This phenomenon is referred to as the four S’s — shrinking to share, save and spend,” says McMahon.
On this basis the kind of rural locations drawing Londoners includes The Sibfords, a cluster of Cotswolds villages close to Banbury, Oxfordshire, which is within an hour’s commute of London. Facilities include a GP surgery, village shop, hall, social clubs and gastropubs.
And for a town location, beautiful Cranbrook in Kent is hard to beat, with Cranbrook School — rated “outstanding” by Ofsted — plus good shops and pubs, and commuter trains to Charing Cross from nearby Staplehurst in just over an hour.
Wherever they choose to go, two thirds of exiting Londoners want to be within walking distance of shops and public transport. Almost six in 10 want to remain close to family and friends, and half declared that a lack of fast broadband would be a deal breaker.