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Renters are leaving London and they’re choosing Slough

Tenants are leaving London at the highest rate in over a decade. With property costs in the capital still sky-high, more and more people are looking to the Commuter Belt as an affordable alternative.

Surprisingly, a large percentage of those moving are continuing to rent rather than buy, In 2007, around 50% of London tenants left to buy, a number that has now fallen to 21%.

While regional cities are becoming increasingly popular for many London tenants, the Commuter Belt is continuing to prove itself as a winner. According to Countrywide, the top destination for tenants moving from London is Slough, with 46% of homes being let to tenants that have moved from London.

Recently voted as the Top Place to Live and Work in the UK by Glassdoor, Slough is establishing itself as an affordable alternative to London. With excellent access to the capital, strong employment opportunities and the necessary residential supply to meet demand, Slough is the top hot spot within the Commuter Belt.

It’s followed by areas such as St Albans, Oxford and Luton, which provide good value but can’t match the affordability or close proximity of Slough.

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David Fell, an analyst at Countrywide, believes that “London rents have risen more than anywhere else since 2012, so tenants can now get a lot more for their rent outside of the capital, which is a big incentive to leave”.

This chimes well with data that shows the average rent across the UK has risen by 1.1% in the last 12 months, mainly driven by demand in the south of the country. While London rents remained flat in 2017, the South West saw increases of 3.3% in the same period.

While this shows a concentrated effort by rents to find more affordable alternatives and the market reacting, it could also be caused by a low number of landlord purchases.

As more landlords look to regional cities in the north for better yields and lower bills, the south is beginning to suffer. London was the only area in the country that recorded a fall in asking price annual growth, falling 2.5% while the North East rose by 5%. This follows data from Rightmove showing that London sellers are still setting high asking prices despite these falling numbers.

If these high prices continue, there’s no doubt that more tenants will look to more affordable locations such as Slough, particularly with the rise of Generation Rent.

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