Londoners abandon capital house prices for booming northern cities

A record number of Londoners are packing up their belongings and heading north to start a new and cheaper life.

Since 2010, the number of capital expats moving north has tripled, now standing at one in five, with property cited as a primary reason for the relocation.

Although the London property market has retracted slightly over the last year whilst the rest of the UK has seen growth, prices are still considerably higher and value for money is hard to come by. For example, a small one-bed starter flat in Camden can cost anywhere from £350,000 to just under £1m. An apartment in the Manchester’s equivalent quirky district of the Northern Quarter could afford you a three-bedroomed duplex or large two-bed with roof terrace. In reality, you’d struggle to fully spend £350,000 in the area.

Read more: Manchester central residential sales jump over 50% in H1 2018

Aneisha Beveridge, Research Analyst at Hamptons said of the trend that: “With affordability stretched, more Londoners are moving out of the capital to find their new home.

“More people are making a bigger move and buying a larger home sooner to avoid having to pay stamp duty on additional moves as they trade up. For many, this means heading further north.”

But another attraction for Londoners is how Manchester has grown into a real hub of business activity with leading FinTech, media and creative industries as well as large bases for stalwarts including the BBC and Co-Op.

London vs. Manchester: A Price Comparison

London Manchester price comparison

So we know that Londoners are leaving the south to head up north for a cheaper way of life and more opportunities in the property market. But what do the numbers actually look like?


London is famed for sky-high rents, and although the Manchester market has seen big gains in terms of both sale and rental asking prices, it still offers a far cheaper alternative to London living.

According to data from Expatistan, average prices for an 85m2 home in London will set you back £1,735, whilst Manchester prices are 56% cheaper at £770.

Luxury accommodation in a highly sought after area offering the same amount of living space will cost £1,341 a month in Manchester and £2,447 in the capital.

Another key cost that’s often non-negotiable no matter where you live is transport, that early morning bus, tram/tube or train journey into work. It’s good news again for Manchester residents with the average price of a monthly public transport pass costing just £57 compared to £139 in London.


Again it won’t surprise anyone to learn that London is the most expensive region in the UK to buy property. Average asking prices this year stand at around £479,000. Manchester, meanwhile, will set you back just under £181,000 – 62% cheaper according to data from Rightmove.

Whilst cheaper rental prices and living, in general, are certainly a draw for those living in London for moving further north, the gulf in difference between property asking prices is a key component that’s driving permanent journeys up the M1 to Manchester where capital dwellers know they can achieve home ownership – and less deposit too.

Read more: Annual house price growth continues, led by North West property market

Here’s how a home buyer’s financials would look based on the above average house prices:

Asking Price: £479,000
Deposit: £47,900
Mortgage amount: £431,100
Monthly repayments: £2,257*

Asking Price: £181,000
Deposit: £18,100
Mortgage amount: £162,900
Monthly repayments: £853*

(*monthly repayments calculated on a 25-year agreement at 3.92% interest rate)