A record number of Londoners bought homes outside of the city last year for the first time in four years, according to research.
Research conducted by residential estate agents Hamptons showed a total of 73,950 homes were bought by Londoners leaving the capital in 2020.
Hamptons recorded a total of 24,480 properties bought outside of the capital by Londoners in the first half of 2020.
This figure doubled in the second half of 2020 to 49,470 sales.
Hamptons researcher Aneisha Beveridge said: “Despite Covid-19 closing the housing market for seven weeks, the number of homes bought by Londoners outside the capital has risen to the highest level in four years.
“While leaving London has been a rite of passage for many, often families reaching life stage milestones, the effects of lockdown and the desire for space seems to have heightened this drift.”
Beveridge predicts the total number of homes bought by London leavers in 2021 will compare with 2016 levels, which calculated to 78,170 sales.
Additional research completed by Hamptons found the top three boroughs where buyers were looking outside of London came from Kingston upon Thames, Barnet, and Hillingdon.
Neighbouring boroughs Westminster, City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham all had the least amount of buyers looking to move outside London.
Location, location, location
Top locations bought by Londoners in 2020 included 75% of homes in Spelthorne, Surrey and 62% of homes in both Epson and Ewell, Surrey and Sevenoaks, Kent.
Areas which saw the biggest increase of shares bought by Londoners last year included Sevenoaks by 39% and Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire by 27%.
Despite the pandemic impact on the UK economy, Hamptons discovered the average London leaver spent £372,860 on their new home in 2020.
This resulted in £27.6 billion total expenditure for 2020.
It has not been this high since 2007, when £36.6 billion was spent on property.
People are also moving further away for the first time in a decade, with the average distance moved by Londoners reaching 40 miles.
Hamptons’ report suggests the location and distance London buyers will migrate to depends on who they are and their personal commitments to London.
Rosie Hamilton from the estate agent’s comparison website, GetAgent added: “If things start to open up again, I think the migration will slow down.
“There will always be a big draw to London even if people are working from home.
“The range of cultural institutions, restaurants, diverse communities, universities, everything that makes London, I believe, will continue to appeal to many people.”