In the wonderfully encouraging wake of The Sunday Times’ excellent endorsement of Stoke-on-Trent as one of the UK’s prime cities to live, we wanted to explore something that is no doubt on the mind of many people across the country: why are so many people leaving London?
We’d like to start by saying that London is an exciting place full of opportunity for those looking to find it and if you haven’t paid it a visit, you really should. But of course, a broken housing market coupled with rising rents, unaffordable business fees and a generally unachievable cost of living means that people are moving out of the capital in their droves - a five-year high - in pursuit over newer pastures.
As told to the publications Skint Loot, Kiwi Movers and The Guardian, here are real-life reasons from real-life former Londoners (both born and bred and honorary) for leaving the Big Smoke:
“I'm Canadian and lived in London for three years, then moved on to the Netherlands with my husband (who is British). We had grown weary of the lifestyle we had in London. I was on a spouse visa which is only valid for two=and-a-half years at a time, so every interview I had lead nowhere, largely because of the uncertainty of my immigration status in the UK. My husband was working all the time at a very good job, yet all we could afford in an area we wanted to live in was a tiny one bedroom flat.”
“I left London because I am going travelling next year and there was no way I’d be able to save the money I needed whilst still paying London rent. I work in tech, and my company supports remote working, so I was able to keep my job and I now work from my parents’ home in Sussex. I do miss my base in London, but it’s only an hour from Sussex to Central by train and leaving the capital has meant I can save a generous chunk of my paycheck each month. I’d definitely consider moving back to London in the future, but I don’t miss the financial pressure that comes with maintaining a London lifestyle.”
"Reluctantly, I am now working from home in Devon after some very happy years in London. I am hoping to start a family and was worried about affording rent and childcare on one salary in London. But starting a family is incompatible with London life. I can afford a four-bedroom house with a garden in a safe area here for the price of a one-bed flat in London.”
"I lived in London for five years and moved back up north a few months ago. Most of my friends, except for the ones who are from London, have moved out recently too. I never found rent as extortionate in London as others seemed to, but there was no chance as a single person of ever buying there, despite having saved a decent amount towards a deposit. I also found London a pretty lonely place some of the time. I miss it occasionally, but it was 100% the right time to leave, and I love my new northern life."
There you have it: four very different people that all share common ground - mainly being muscled out by the unaffordability of the capital and a desire to progress with their lives rather than treading water.
As more people wise up to the potential of other budding towns and cities across the UK, an increasing number of folks will run into the arms of destinations like Stoke-on-Trent - areas that are affordable, amenable, offer excellent accessibility some of the UK’s best destinations, provide a growing wealth of job opportunities, and boast an exciting, prosperous future.