Strengthening the capital connection
‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’
When, in 1777, noted English writer Samuel Johnson penned these words, he probably could not have predicted how today’s economic outlook would have dampened the commitment of even the most loyal Londoner.
For now, in 2015, many residents are realising that London – with its rich employment opportunities and colourful culture – can be appreciated from afar. These people are enjoying the London life from its surrounding towns and counties – and, through technology and transport links that would surely leave Dr Johnson lost for words.
Of course, London emigration isn’t anything new. You need only look to the garden cities of the first half of the 20th Century – and post-WW2 New Town developments like Milton Keynes – to observe the course of inland expatriates and the generations that follow them.
Yet there is reason to conclude ‘London-leavers’ are relocating at a more rapid rate, if latest research is to be believed.
Take, for example, this article by The Economist. It reports that the Office of National Statistics found a record number of 30- to 39-year-olds left London in the year to June 2013. And on the back of this research came a wave of personal accounts detailing triumphant departures from the capital – like this from The Telegraph.
Such findings are not entirely surprising to Michael Graham. Indeed, they mirror the central theme of our regular London Show, where we present, to London residents, our portfolio of properties from this region, including Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
And it was at the most recent of these events – of 21 January – that the trend was truly apparent, as explained by our Bedford branch director, Richard Banks.
He said: “A lot of the buyers who leave London – those we met through the show – grew up and were schooled in the northern home counties. They then typically move away for university, before heading for the city to buy a flat.
“Before they know it, they’ve reached their thirties, with children on the horizon and want to return to their childhood stamping ground. And more often than not, they’re able to sell their flat for a handsome amount and move back, discovering their property buying power is akin to a small lottery win.”
Our experience of the most recent London Show is not unusual. Nor is our experience of the opposite side of the process – the selling of property to those leaving the capital.
Richard added: “Ahead of the Show, our Towcester branch was instructed to present The Hunt House, a property in a Northamptonshire village. The vendor specifically chose us because of the show, and its proven way of reaching a wider audience and the affluence of the capital.
“The property itself is unique and includes a 40-cover restaurant, professional kitchens and four luxury en suite bed-and-breakfast rooms. As such the vendor needed an agent that could market it to a London chef, restaurateur or hotelier seeking a change from the city lifestyle.’’
Although it’s still early days for the sale of The Hunt House, its prominence at the London Show sparked considerable interest. Meanwhile, our links with London-leavers were again strengthened, galvanising our plans for the next Show.
As to how this leaves Dr Johnson’s famous quote and his renowned love for London, we can only humbly suggest our experience reaching buyers from the city is that we are not meeting people who are ‘tired of London’ – rather, people who have woken up to life outside of it.
Present your home to the growing audience of London-leavers: ask us about marketing your home at the next London Show, which is planned for early April.
Call Bob or Sam at the London office on 0207 839 088, or contact your local Michael Graham branch to see how much further we go to sell your home.