London property market: why people are relocating to the West
PUBLISHED: 12:44 30 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:21 30 September 2016
Bruce Clark from Nash Partnership speaks to Nick from NW Clarke Property about why people are leaving London and what property is on offer just a short commute away
A large number of London residents are now fleeing the capital sooner than they traditionally would, with 30-somethings attracted by the wide range of more affordable property within 2 hours of London.
Changing employment patterns have certainly contributed to this London exodus. Self-employment is rising, with British business becoming more renowned for its small quality operations and the increase in home working for at least part of the working week. High speed internet is starting to make its way out of London, making working from home easier. And large national businesses are also making their way out of London as a direct result of a lack of suitable affordable space for businesses.
In response to these changes, the Government is planning and completing long-range transport solutions across the country to meet demand.
London property has now exceeded its all-time high of 2007 by some degree, with foreign investment and short supply pushing prices and demand ever higher. London needs around 50,000 new homes a year to compensate for years of shortfall, and is falling way behind this target with well under half being completed year on year. The average deposit needed to buy in London is £70,000. This either enables the wealthy, or pushes people into rented accommodation which they spend an average of 50% of their income on. This means people end up in smaller or poorer conditioned property than their family requires.
There are broadly two sorts of people leaving London: those who bought earlier and are now cashing in on years of growth by making their money work harder outside London or those who cannot afford to buy in London and realise that mortgage repayments will likely be less than 60% of what they have been paying in rent.
Going West to Wiltshire
Popular cities like Bristol and Bath have stayed well behind the astronomical ascent of prices in London. A calmer, healthier quality of life and value for money in historic surroundings continues to draw people to the West. With prices having risen in the popular Cotswold towns and villages like Moreton-in-Marsh, people are now looking at other areas where they can buy more. These include towns like Tetbury, Malmesbury and the villages of North Wiltshire, which still have good access to the main routes to London.
What’s on offer elsewhere?
For £305k, a studio flat in Battersea offers 350sq ft of living space in an ex-local authority building in a green, leafy suburb of London, the closest you will get to living outside London with only a 30/40 min commute above ground. Alternatively, for the same money, a buyer could live in double the square footage in central Bristol (‘Best City to live in for Wealth and Happiness’, Telegraph 2014).
Out in the countryside, approximately 90 minutes from London by car (and less by train), the same buyer could purchase a charming three-bed cottage. One example has a large garden, parking, village shop, post office and pub and is a short drive or bus ride from Westbury station (1hr 30 mins commute).
Although these examples are more relevant to first-time buyers, the seller of a 3-bed terraced house in an area like Maida Vale could find themselves in the league of country squire, swapping a house like this for a 6-bed listed detached house like this or a 5-bed listed detached house like this. And you can still be in London in about an hour and a half.
The pace of London, the increasing property price rises and increased desire are pushing people out of London. Families want space, people want quiet and close communities to live and bring up their families in. An Englishman’s home is his castle and everyone wants one they can be proud of - not a basement shoebox with a porthole dependent on a landlord.