Could the grass be greener outside of the capital?


Pete Mugleston

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One in four Londoners will buy their first home outside of the capital, according to an Online Mortgage Advisor survey into the sentiment of the city’s young residents. The cost of living was the main reason cited by 27% of respondents, who believe that it would be too expensive to purchase their first property in the city. A further 6% of 25-34 year olds said they would put roots down elsewhere to give themselves and any future family a better quality of life. Another 8% of the 2,007 participants plan to move out of the capital for “other reasons”.

Discounting the 42% of residents who answered “I haven’t thought about this yet” the results were even stronger -  a total of 74% said they will buy their first home outside of London for one of the above reasons. However, one in ten people surveyed said their love for the city would keep them there, and 4% cited “other reasons” as the main factor for staying in the Big Smoke.

David Bird, a director at Online Mortgage Advisor, said: “The stats from this survey evidence the sentiment that we’ve recognised in our own customers over the past couple of years. The number of first-time buyers coming to us with enquiries about mortgages on properties outside the capital is on the rise, and we expect to see this continue as more and more people consider themselves to be priced out of London.

“In light of these results, we’ve created a tool called “Is The Grass Greener?”, which compares every single UK city as well as London boroughs, to help first-time buyers discover where they can get the most for their money and a quality of life that suits them. We’ve analysed both government data and national statistics on a number of factors including house price, crime rate, schooling standards and even the price of a pint!”

Using the tool, first-time buyers can see that Liverpool beats Wandsworth - a London borough with a population that is predominantly in its 30s - on stats including house price, average first-time buyer price and cost of living. Manchester also has an average house price that is £429,201 cheaper than in Wandsworth, and has a higher capital growth rate.


The borough of Lambeth, which has a similar age demographic to Wandsworth, loses out to other cities including Bristol, which has a much better crime and safety rate and lower petrol prices. According to UKCrimeStats Bristol has a crime rate of 7.28 while Lambeth’s score is 15.16; this is based on crimes per 1,000 resident people.


Here’s what the experts make of the stats...

Mark Homer, co-founder of property education company Progressive Property:

Many younger Londoners want to live outside the capital as house prices become more detached from incomes meaning that monthly payments and the deposit required to obtain a mortgage makes living in the capital unaffordable. This, coupled with the fact that many areas around London are still playing catch up with property prices which have not risen as much since the credit crunch in areas around London as they have within, making these areas more affordable. Train services are also becoming quicker with the East Coast main line, Crossrail and HS2 reducing journey times to the city, making commuting a viable option even from locations which were previously discounted as commuter locations. As the population of London grows this trend is likely to continue meaning areas surrounding London are likely to experience higher than average house price growth.

 

Jonathan Stephens, managing director of property investment consultancy Surrenden Invest:

The findings from the survey conducted are not surprising to me. Here at Surrenden Invest we have been seeing these patterns for a while now, it seems that the general public, especially millennials, are happy to rent in London for a short time but when it comes to settling down, they are looking further afield. We have found this to be for a range of reasons but primarily financial drivers. The current market as it stands makes is near to impossible to buy in London if you earn under a certain income bracket, but in other cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool this isn’t the case. Lower house prices make these cities more affordable to first time buyers and thus more attractive options. Quality of life is also becoming more important for many with trendy areas in up and coming cities such as Digbeth, the creative quarter of Birmingham, home to our latest new homes development, Moseley Gardens, growing in popularity.

 

Rose Jinks, on behalf of market-leading Landlord Insurance provider Just Landlords, explains how the change is affecting the private rental sector:

It’s not only first time buyers that are leaving the capital; landlords too are looking to other parts of the UK for high tenant demand and better rental yields. This should mean that those moving from London to other thriving cities should find an abundance of suitable rental properties before they can get onto the housing ladder themselves. Investing in large cities outside of the capital can therefore provide a win-win situation for all involved in the property market. However, she urges: “As ever, we encourage all landlords that provide rental housing to consider their tenants when setting rent prices, keeping the property safe and complying with rules and regulations governing the private rental sector. This will drastically improve the lives of those unable to buy their own homes.


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