London is full of people leaving their homes. High house prices, a sagging property market, an ever-increasing cost of living and a growing population have made life a lot less fun for all concerned. House prices in London have increased by 70% over the last ten years. The result is as sizeable as it is inevitable: huge numbers, hundreds of thousands, of people are upping sticks and heading away from the capital.
To be exact, a whopping 330,000 people took flight as their eyes began to sting from the Big Smoke. Who could blame them? To live and work in London has become a trial by fire for many people and their bank accounts. The average rent in the city has climbed above £2,000 per month for the first time. In contrast, the average monthly rent outside of London is a much more favourable £796. Capital residents struggle with a cost of living that far exceeds and outstrips other places in the UK. The most significant demographic drain from London’s exodus has been from professionals in their 30s. Even those with generous salaries find it difficult to cope with the avalanche of high costs and spiralling rent.
The drain could leave London circling one of its own. The flight of professionals away from the capital leaves with it a surfeit of low-skill jobs and workers, depressed wages and even less affordable housing stock.
Hit The North
There are plenty of alternatives in the UK, and the smart money is heading further north than ever before. The latest research shows that greater numbers of London leavers are going further afield. The number of people moving 200 miles north of London has increased by 371%. That is the approximate distance between the capital and the UK’s ‘second city’, Manchester. Based on current trends and the growing appeal of the North West of England, this is no happy accident.
Manchester and neighbouring Liverpool are the fastest growing cities in the UK; the nouveau riche Northern Powerhouse entities that have positioned themselves as viable economic contenders to London’s throne. Most importantly to those at the heart of London’s mass migration, Manchester and Liverpool are much cheaper options. That doesn’t mean a shortage of quality in what’s available to new arrivals in either city.
The North West has plenty to offer the discerning professional. The slow decay of London’s housing and property market and the subsequent squeeze of ordinary people from the capital’s property ladder has led to a steep decline in the city’s cultural character. World-famous venues, restaurants and bars are feeling the pinch; consequently, there is a vacuum that is not being filled.
That is not the case in cities like Liverpool and Manchester. Both cities are enjoying a cultural and work-based renaissance. Liverpool has seen the wild upswing of the Baltic Triangle area; a bustling new home for the city’s artists, start-ups, young entrepreneurs and food and drink denizens. The Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters projects are some of the biggest regenerative undertakings in UK history.