Londoners eye leafy suburbs as buyers desert central zones

With a growing number of people increasingly priced out of popular central London areas, and ultimately looking for more space for their families or room to work from home, new research shows that there has been a surge in demand for properties in outer London.

A number of agents have been reporting that more people are selling up in the inner London zones and moving further out over the past few months, and this trend has now been identified in the latest research released by Rightmove this morning.

Fresh analysis by the property website shows that in outer areas of London, buyer-demand has soared, which is a complete reversal compared to this time last year.

Analysis of commuter lines in London reveals Zone 6 is seeing the biggest increase in the number of buyers, and zone 1 the smallest.

Zone 6 has moved from having 9% more buyers in September 2019 compared with the previous year, to now being up by 108%.

Meanwhile, zone 1 has moved from being 41% up year-on-year in 2019, to now being just 7% up.

The further out you go by zone the greater the increase in year-on-year demand, according to Rightmove.

The study looked at the change in buyer demand for each station along the Bank branch of the Northern Line between July and September 2020 compared to July and September 2019, which mirrors the overall trend.

The two stations that saw the biggest increase in the number of buyers were High Barnet, up 166%, followed by a station just a few stops along, Finchley Central. Northern locations of the northern line are performing more strongly than the southern locations, and there is a clear dip in demand along the zone 1 stations.

Rightmove’s head of property data Tim Bannister said: “Agents have been reporting a number of people selling up in the inner London zones and moving further out, but to see this reversal in the demand trend reflected so clearly in the data is quite something.

“Some buyers still expecting to commute into the centre in the long term may have now adjusted their mindset about how many zones they’re prepared to move out, leading to zone 6 being the new favourite.

“This data demonstrates the short term trend of more central places like Moorgate and Bank seeing lower demand right now – although it’s worth noting that it’s off strong demand levels for these locations a year ago. I do think this demand will come back eventually but it’s not clear yet how long it will take.”

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