When it comes to London, it’s always been a target destination for 20-somethings. Whether they’re looking for better job opportunities, a more exciting lifestyle or just a change of scenery, it’s always been popular for younger people to move to the capital.
This influx of young adults is also backed up by immigration from abroad, as talented foreign workers look to London for better opportunities. These two demographics and strong economic performance have had a huge effect on the population, helping it explode to nearly 9 million in the last few years.
Recently, however, capital churn has grown as other demographics look to move out of the capital. In a recent survey by Grant Thornton of 2,000 Londoners, they found that 6.2% are planning on leaving London in 2018/2019. Using extrapolation, that would equal nearly 545,000 people or 1 in every 16, a much higher rate than usual. A second survey that looked into teenagers and students found that a narrow majority of 1,300 don’t want to live or work in London.
A number of ‘reasons for leaving’ options were available but nearly every group selected housing affordability and availability as the top two complaints. The housing crisis seems to be the leading factor for every demographic, with young people citing it in their top three reasons.
London has been witnessing the brunt of a UK property slowdown, with huge increases in values stretching affordability for first-time buyers. Although the numbers have been skewed by prime London property seeing massive drops in value, 2018 saw the biggest property price decline in London since 2009.
It can be attributed to a number of factors including Brexit and mortgage problems, with growth not forecast until 2020, the year after we officially leave the EU. Experts forecast that by 2022, levels will have stabilised and London property will begin to rise once more, potentially leaving the average property price around £500,000.
The effect these prices are having on London workers has seen a renewed interest in the Commuter Belt, as more and more people look to take advantage of affordable alternatives within easy reach of the capital. Locations such as Slough, Basingstoke and Reading are seeing incredible growth, driven by inwards investment and talented workers looking to move out of London.
Despite these gloomy predictions, London remains one of the biggest financial hubs in Europe and a major player on the world stage. It’s important to take note that the capital is becoming less attractive for young Brits, a demographic which has been one of its biggest supporters. With new talent not being able to take advantage of affordable housing, it surely won’t be long before they look elsewhere.