London's place as a financial and cultural centre of the world has long made it an attractive destination for those looking to advance their careers and broaden their horizons; so much so that its property market now struggles to keep up with the rising demand. House prices further exacerbate the issue, having increased by 19% in the year to November 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Fortunately, if you're seeking a home in the UK, you have more options available to you than you did in times gone by. Cities further to the north, which were once associated with little else besides factories and football teams that liked to tackle, are now staking their claim as cultural and commercial hotspots. This has prompted many Londoners to leave the capital in hopes of finding more affordable housing elsewhere. With the average property in London currently selling for £402,800, versus the UK average of £185,700, who can blame them?
Can Birmingham become the new London?
ONS records show that 58,220 people aged between 30 and 39 left the capital in the year leading up to June 2014, the highest on record and a 10 per cent increase on 2010. Furthermore, according to Hamptons International, the number of Londoners buying homes elsewhere in the UK has risen by 50 per cent, with the majority being bought for the purpose of relocation. An estimated £21bn was spent on homes outside the capital, the highest recorded since the credit crisis.
Unwillingness to make a big move prevailed during the tough times following the crash, but with the recovering economy, many people feel it's time to use the equity they've kept in reserve these past few years and make a new start elsewhere. They’re setting their sights on towns and cities which offer more affordable house prices and a healthier balance between work and family life.
Birmingham is proving to be a particularly popular destination. Manufacturing was the driving force behind its economy for much of its history, and until recently the city was deemed to be as aesthetically appealing as a factory floor. But times have changed, and Birmingham can now boast a wealth of cultural attractions, including four Michelin star restaurants, a library famous for being the largest public cultural space in Europe, the Repertory Theatre and its own City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Like other cities in the UK, it has also benefited from the economic recovery. Its higher-skilled jobs market has received a boost, thanks in part to a burgeoning technology sector. But of most interest to home hunters will be its favorable house prices, averaging £133,700, according to Hometrack, which is significantly less than the London average, and less than the UK average overall.
Other popular destinations for Londoners
So, it's no surprise the city of Birmingham attracted 5480 Londoners in the year leading up to June 2013, but it’s not the only city being targeted by disillusioned Londoners. Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford are becoming increasingly popular. That being said, however, many Londoners have chosen to move elsewhere in the South East so as to remain within commuting distance of the capital.
Hamptons International published a list of the top 20 locations that offered exactly that – a relatively short commute and affordable housing. Essex ranked the highest, with the town of Thurrock (the location for the boat chase scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) singled out as an especially alluring destination, thanks in no small part to its greenery and affordable house prices (an average £190,000). The list also included areas in Kent, Surrey and Hertfordshire.
Looking for more information on the best areas to purchase a home? Don't hesitate to contact the experts at Tepilo for professional advice pertaining to the UK property market.