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Steep Rise in People Moving from London to the North

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For years now, people have been relocating from the UK’s capital to the North of England, especially to Leeds. Since 2014 this figure has doubled, reaching a record high in 2019. Last year, 13% of people who left London opted to move to the North.

The high cost of living, increasing population density and its status as the country’s most polluted city is causing people to leave London and head north. According to the Office for National Statistics, the most popular cities for ex-Londoners are Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The lure of a better, healthier quality of life is boosting this south to north migration. Workers sick of the “London madness” are increasingly looking for employment prospects in the North that offer a better work-life balance.

Top Employers Relocating to Leeds

Employers themselves are even following this trend and relocating to the North: Leeds is now the home of the new Channel 4 base and HMRC will soon be opening its doors there too. Sheffield’s council leaders are promising considerably cheaper office rates than London in order to attract more companies to the city.

The recent Government green-light of the HS2 project is also expected to bring more people to cities along its route. Northern Powerhouse cities such as Manchester and Leeds will especially benefit.

Increasing Population

Leeds has seen one of the biggest population booms from Londoners moving to the West Yorkshire city. Over the past five years, the number of people relocating to Leeds from London has increased by 58%, from 2,720 in 2013 to 4,296 in 2018.

There are plenty of reasons people from the capital are choosing Leeds. The city centre displays a stunning array of Victorian architecture, while the suburbs pleasingly combine Victorian terraces with high rise new build developments. Average house prices in Leeds are 62% lower than London at around £182,000, so there is something for everyone.

Why Leeds?

Jonathan Wilson, a director at developer Citu, says that Leeds provides opportunities not possible in London. “If you develop land on the outskirts of London you have to travel 40 minutes into the centre to meet a friend for a drink. If you do it in Leeds, you can be in the centre in five to ten minutes.”

The popularity of Leeds with Londoners is having a positive effect on its housing market. JLL has tipped Leeds as having one of the highest house price increases in the UK over the coming years. They expect property prices in the city to grow by a huge 17.1% by 2023, compared to the UK average of 2.2%.

A high level of rental growth is also likely in Leeds. JLL predict a 17.1% increase by 2023, whereas the UK average is only expected to be 2.4%.

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