Dear London, I’m leaving…

Posted on 9 Nov, 2020

Home movers may be writing ‘Dear John’ letters to London - consciously uncoupling from the capital in search of pastures new - but they don’t want to move too far. 

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life is one of Samuel Johnson’s most famous quotes but when he uttered those immortal words in 1777, he knew nothing of Covid-19. Fast forward almost 250 years and for some, the love affair with London is over.

The Guardian published an online article in October 2020 on a growing group of families leaving the capital’s buzz for more space and green fields. Within the feature was news from the Nationwide, highlighting how house prices were up in the commuter towns surrounding London - rising by more than 5% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020.

Further insights from Hamptons International found the median distance those buying outside London are moving is now 49 miles – up from 33.5 just a year ago – while almost two-thirds of Londoners who moved to somewhere bigger this year left the city, typically moving somewhere cheaper too.

There is the suggestion, however, that families flying London’s urban nest are reluctant to completely cut their apron strings with the capital. What is emerging is a race to secure larger homes within the magic hour marker – rail or road journeys back to London that take around 60 minutes.

The travelling time is crucial. Anything less is deemed too close to the capital and may not feel removed enough. Anything longer in duration is too much of a bind for the occasions when business or pleasure takes one back to London – or when the pandemic recedes and everyone is called back to their desks.

Here Viewber presents its top 5 locations that are around the magic one hour* marker from London:

1. Cambridge: Rightmove identified Cambridge as a relocation hotspot in September 2020, with searches up by 76% year-on-year. Rail travelers can leave Cambridge train station and pull into London Kings Cross 54 minutes later.

2. Winchester: letting agents in Winchester are reportedly running out of rental properties as Londoners ‘try before they buy’ in this Hampshire city. Trains run directly from Winchester to London Waterloo in 62 minutes.

3. Oxford: agent Carter Jonas said inquiries from Londoners looking to move to Oxford were up 700%. The city of dreaming spires is well connected, with journey times of just 47 minutes from Oxford to London Paddington.

4. Windsor: if it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for relocating Londoners. Even with one train change, London Paddington is just 30 minutes from Windsor but it feels a world away from any urban sprawl.

5. Royal Tunbridge Wells: this Kentish spa town has echoes of London, with its Covent Garden-like Pantiles and Decimus Burton architecture. Super speedy trains from the town whisk travelers to London Bridge in 44 minutes.

We have Viewbers located in all of the Home Counties and outlying commuter cities, ready to accompany viewings and undertake property visits.

Contact us to discover how we help busy agents, house builders, auctioneers, landlords and property investors.


*All travel times from National Rail’s Journey Planner, 6th October 2020

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