London's mass exodus: where are they all going?

Lockdown, hybrid working, and runaway house prices have all been contributing factors in Londoners escaping the capital over recent years. Although it's no surprise that large numbers of people move out of London each year, new research reveals where they are choosing to go.

Related topics:  Property,  London,  moving
Property | Reporter
15th May 2023
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"It’s clear that although the London exodus is slowing down, many people are still moving out of London for cheaper house prices and short commutes to their jobs"

Lockdown, hybrid working, and runaway house prices have all been contributing factors in Londoners escaping the capital over recent years. Although it's no surprise that large numbers of people move out of London each year, new research reveals where they are choosing to go.

Compare My Move analysed moving data to see where exactly Londoners are moving to when they leave the city, the average house prices, and the commute times into London.

According to the findings, the South East was the most popular region for a move out of London in 2022, accounting for 35% of all London moves, with Reading being the most popular town.

Top 10 locations for London movers

Data shows that Londoners are moving to the South East, with the region seeing 35.69% of all moves. Reading, Brighton and Woking were among some of the most popular areas, as shown below:

1: South East - 35.69%

2: East of England - 15.52%

3: East Midlands - 11.17%

4: South West - 11.11%

5: North West - 7.42%

6: West Midlands - 5.59%

7: Yorkshire and the Humber - 4.42%

8: Scotland - 4.01%

9: Wales - 2.4%

9: North East - 2.13%

Average commute and house prices

Commonly voted as one of the best commuter towns for London, Reading has come out on top as the most popular area in the South East for users of Compare My Move.

According to Trainline, Reading is just a 23-minute commute from London and at a fraction of the average property price, we can see why it’s popular. Rightmove reports that the average property price in Reading is £449,731, which is 14% cheaper than London’s £725,715.

It’s interesting to note that Slough is the shortest commute from London at just 14 minutes and the 2nd cheapest area to buy property from our 10 most popular locations.

With all 10 locations averaging under a 35-minute commute, it’s clear that Londoners want to save money by buying property not far from the capital and commuting to the city instead.

Is the ‘London exodus’ slowing down?

The number of people leaving London slowed down in 2022 compared to the previous year, with our data seeing a 31% decrease.

Many people left London during and immediately after the lockdown due to changes in priorities as well as the increase in hybrid working. The demand for extra space that London didn’t offer saw lots of families move to the countryside.

Rightmove reported that Cornwall overtook London as the top searched location in 2021, but in 2022 London topped the search list again.

Owner and Managing Director of Compare My Move, Dave Sayce, concludes: “It’s clear that although the London exodus is slowing down, many people are still moving out of London for cheaper house prices and short commutes to their jobs. Compare My Move has seen a busy Q1 for moves in and out of London with no sign of this slowing down.”

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