While there’s a consensus amongst property experts that the great out-of-London migration is over its peak, that’s not to say it’s a trend that’s disappeared entirely.
In late 2022, new data from Hamptons reported that despite the rising prevalence of flexible working, outmigration from Londoners moving out of the capital in search of more space is still taking place. Whilst the number is not as high as it was in 2021, outmigration remains higher than pre-Covid.
With many still wanting an easy journey into the capital for their days in the office, London’s commuter suburbs are a natural choice. So, where to start the search?
One town seeing fierce competition is Watford, particularly for apartments. According to recent research from Zoopla, this commuter hotspot is one of the key locations that saw the highest increase in demand for one and two-bedroom flats between January 2022 and January 2023.
With a £1.5bn regeneration very much underway, new major infrastructure, as well as a range of commercial and residential developments, it is transforming the face of the town and driving fresh interest – as well as exciting investment and employment opportunities to the area. It’s no surprise then to hear that London buyers are fast following suit.
One development bringing a new offering to Watford is The Clarendon, a collection of 168 apartments and penthouses with a premium specification more akin to a luxury central London scheme. With prices from £325,000, it’s proving popular with buyers relocating out of the capital (www.theclarendonwatford.co.uk).
A particularly unique proposition enticing buyers is the development’s suite of private residents’ facilities, which includes two sky gardens, located on the 7th and 25th floors, alongside a state-of-the-art gymnasium, cinema, café, 24-hour concierge service and secure underground parking.
Super-fast transport links from Watford Junction station mean residents are just a 15-minute train journey from London, while the town’s London Underground and Overground stations provide additional convenient transport links.
Over in Essex, London buyers are increasingly heading to join the thriving ever-growing community at the urban village, Base in Newhall. With its striking architecture, contemporary design and abundant green space, it’s no surprise buyers are flocking to the well-connected lifestyle on offer.
Developer, Countryside, has recently released a new selection of one and two-bedroom apartments, and three and four-bedroom houses (from £239,950, www.basenewhall.co.uk). Clever, adaptable layouts offer the flexibility required for modern life, with open-plan layouts, generous kitchens and large feature windows designed to offer beautiful yet practical spaces for living or working from home.
Despite its green surroundings – 40% of the overall development is dedicated to green space, meaning no home is more than 60m from parkland or greenery – central London is also within easy reach. Direct services from nearby Harlow Town railway station take just 30 minutes to London Liverpool Street.
However, it isn’t just conveniently located homes that London commuters are looking for, it’s also the local lifestyle on offer.
Over in Kent, The Burrows is a new community popping up in Paddock Wood. The charming new address brings forward a range of traditionally-inspired two, three, four and five-bedroom homes, all peppered amongst green open spaces, with footpaths and sympathetic landscaping.
One of the biggest draws for those moving out of London is the proximity to the affluent town of Sevenoaks – voted the 2nd happiest place to live in the South East in Rightmove’s latest ‘Happy at Home’ survey – and its range of amenities and impressive retail and cultural offerings, from boutique stores, art galleries and museums to eclectic restaurants and bars.
The homes, which start from £440,000 for a 3-bedroom terraced house, come with superior specification, stylish interiors and bright and airy living spaces (www.countrysidepartnerships.com).