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Higher mortgage rates are the main reason for homebuyers leaving London

Higher mortgage rates have replaced the pandemic’s so-called ‘race for space’ as the main reason for homeowners leaving London this year, it has been revealed.

Londoners accounted for 7.7 per cent of all buyers outside the capital in Britain during the first six months of this year, new research from Hamptons shows.

The figure is down from 7.9 per cent in 2021 and 2022, but due to higher mortgage rates, this remains above the 2015 to 2019 average of 6.9 per cent.

It replaces the main reason during the pandemic when homeowners left the capital because they sought more space in a housing trend known as the ‘race for space’.

Some buyers are looking outside of the capital to buyer a property amid higher mortgage costs

Some buyers are looking outside of the capital to buyer a property amid higher mortgage costs 

The findings follow a further blow to mortgage holders when interest rates were raised for the 14th consecutive time by the Bank of England last week.

Homeowners in the capital may be particularly badly hit by rate rises as house prices tend to be higher and so they may have a larger loan. 

The Bank increased interest rates by 0.25 per cent to a 15-year high of 5.25 per cent, bringing them to their highest level since 2008.

Adding to the woes of mortgage holders, financial experts have warned that the rates could rise as high as 6 per cent during the next year.

The Bank said rates were raised amid ongoing concerns that inflation is becoming engrained in the UK economy.

Londoners purchased 32,600 properties outside the capital during the first six months of this year

Londoners purchased 32,600 properties outside the capital during the first six months of this year

Mark Harris, of mortgage brokers SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With the ‘race for space’ that was such a feature of the pandemic now largely exhausted, it seems as though mortgage costs are now persuading some Londoners to leave the capital.

‘With 14 consecutive increases in interest rates in as many meetings, long-gone are the days of rock-bottom mortgage rates. 

‘While there are hopes that rates will settle back down once the Bank of England has got inflation under control, borrowers will have to get used to higher mortgage rates in future and must budget accordingly.

‘This may mean people will have to take on smaller mortgages and opt for cheaper properties beyond the capital.’

A move to a more affordable area outside the M25 is set to save a typical first-time buyer with a 15 per cent deposit £8,656 in mortgage payments each year 

Hamptons went on to say that first-time buyers, in particular, are feeling the pressure from higher rates.

It said that this year they made up a record 30 per cent of buyers who traded London for another region in Britain.

It is up from 27 per cent last year and more than double the proportion – at 12 per cent – recorded a decade ago. It equated to 9,260 purchases during the first six months of this year.

While overall buyers are moving less far than they did last year, the average first-time buyer leaving London travelled 25 miles from where they were living, up from 23 miles last year and 14.3 miles in 2013.

With few able to afford to buy where they currently rent in the capital, this move to a more affordable area outside the M25 is set to save a typical first-time buyer with a 15 per cent deposit £8,656 in mortgage payments each year.

Consequently, so far this year more than a third – at 37 per cent – of London-based first-time buyers left the capital to purchase a home.

It is the second highest figure – after 2018 – since Hamptons’ records began in 2009.

This graph from Hamptons reveals which Londoners are buying homes outside of the capital

This graph from Hamptons reveals which Londoners are buying homes outside of the capital

Overall, Londoners purchased 32,600 properties outside the capital during the first six months of this year.

A broader slowdown in the number of sales taking place across the country has meant that, Covid aside (during the first half of 2020), this marked the second lowest figure since 2015.

More than three-quarters – at 78 per cent – of these homes were bought by a first-time buyer or mover permanently leaving London for another region in Britain.

They purchased 25,350 homes outside the capital during the first six months of 2023, 5,800 or 19 per cent fewer than the same period of 2022.

The number of homes bought by a Londoner outside of the capital has been revealed by Hamptons

The number of homes bought by a Londoner outside of the capital has been revealed by Hamptons

If outmigration continues at the same pace throughout the remainder of the year, it’s likely that 53,780 Londoners will permanently leave the capital to buy a home in 2023.

This almost matches the total number of homes sold in Wales last year at 56,000.

Given that a record 85 per cent of London leavers move to a more affordable area, this is set to save mortgaged buyers a total of £357million each year in annual mortgage payments this year.

It compares to £157million savings for those who left London in 2019 when mortgage rates were lower.

That said, leaving London is also a way for households to reduce or even pay off their mortgage debt.

So far this year 18 per cent of London leavers bought their new home without a mortgage, up from a low of 14 per cent in 2020.

Adding to the woes of mortgage holders, financial experts have warned that the rates could rise as high as 6 per cent during the next year

Adding to the woes of mortgage holders, financial experts have warned that the rates could rise as high as 6 per cent during the next year

Affordability pressures have also reduced buyers’ budgets and meant that London leavers are purchasing smaller homes.

So far this year, the average Londoner spent £429,800 on their new home outside the capital, just over £60,000 less than those who left in 2022 when mortgage rates were lower.

Consequently, 37 per cent of London leavers purchased a one or two-bedroom home, up from 33 per cent last year.

Hamptons also revealed the different regions where London leavers decide to move to

Hamptons also revealed the different regions where London leavers decide to move to

Where are buyers heading? 

London leavers are increasingly trading the South East for more affordable parts in the East of England.

The share of London leavers moving to the South East fell below 40 per cent for the first time since 2009 this year.

A total of 39 per cent of households permanently leaving the capital moved to the South East of England so far this year, down from 45 per cent in 2022.

Meanwhile, one in three London leavers headed to the East of England this year, up from 28 per cent in 2022.

Local authorities such as Epping Forest, Chelmsford and Stevenage all feature in the top 15 areas that have seen the biggest rise in the share of prospective buyers coming from London since 2019.

Local authorities such as Epping Forest, Chelmsford and Stevenage all feature in the top 15 areas that have seen the biggest rise in the share of prospective buyers coming from London since 2019

Local authorities such as Epping Forest, Chelmsford and Stevenage all feature in the top 15 areas that have seen the biggest rise in the share of prospective buyers coming from London since 2019

The top 15 local authorities with the biggest rise in the share of prospective buyers from London since 2019 are revealed

The top 15 local authorities with the biggest rise in the share of prospective buyers from London since 2019 are revealed

The data does not only encapsulate Hamptons sales, it is compiled using data from some 550 estate agency branches across Britain who form part of its parent company – the Connells Group.

Aneisha Beveridge, of Hamptons, said: ‘Higher mortgage rates have paused the unwinding of arguably the biggest Covid-induced trend in the housing market – London outmigration.

‘Rather, this year London outmigration has increasingly been driven by need over want as higher mortgage rates reduce buyers’ budgets, pushing them in search of smaller homes in more affordable areas.

‘Most of these movers still look to retain strong links with the capital. This has supported values of smaller homes in some of the more affordable towns within an hour’s commute of London.

‘Looking ahead, the likelihood that mortgage rates will stay higher for longer may keep the pace of London outmigration up.

‘We’re also reaching the point where a large number of households who bought a home at the peak of the London market between 2014-2016 might be looking to move over the next few years.

‘And with property prices in parts of the capital lower today than when they bought, trading the city for a cheaper area outside the M25 might be the only option for those needing to upsize.’

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Living in a surfer’s paradise! Chic townhouse with incredible floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking beach in Cornwall goes on the market for £2.75million

A chic townhouse with breathtaking views over a surfer’s paradise has gone on the market for £2.75m.

Gwel Tresla has incredible floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the surf mecca of Polzeath, Cornwall, and even has a sky hammock to take full advantage of the panoramic views.

The five-bedroom home is one of three striking contemporary townhouses completed in 2020 with high specifications and smart technology throughout and has been a successful holiday let with Latitude 50.

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position, which means the owners will get to enjoy spectacular sunsets.

It has 2,863 sq ft of accommodation with the entrance lobby and a double bedroom with en suite on the ground floor, and four bedrooms and four bathrooms on the first floor.

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area with built-in bar at one end and a living area with a vaulted ceiling and a sea-facing balcony at the other.

The top floor has another living area/TV room with the sky hammock looking out over the beach and a bathroom. There is also a large covered terrace with built-in outdoor kitchen and barbecue.

Outside there is secure underground parking for two cars, a lockable surf and equipment store and outdoor hot and cold showers.

The house is just 25 yards from Polzeath Beach, a popular holiday spot with safe bathing and surfing and a vast expanse of beach.

Polzeath is close to the other popular resorts of Rock and Padstow and has a number of excellent restaurants and pubs nearby, great watersports opportunities and walking and golf.

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

Josephine Ashby from John Bray Estates said: ‘This striking architectural design, by Studio Arc Architects, delivers on all fronts, with breath-taking coastal views from all the principal rooms, and high specifications and smart technology throughout.

‘Completed in 2020, Gwel Trelsa is the dream beachfront property, offering comfortable and spacious accommodation that seamlessly blends comfort and luxury, resulting in a highly desirable family home or holiday home.

‘Situated in a prime frontline position at Polzeath, Gwel Trelsa commands front line views across the beach and over the surrounding coastline.’

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The 11 things that make your garden look tacky, revealed by a top expert – including the flower colour that just screams cheap

A well-maintained garden may be a relaxing retreat – but it can also boost the kerb appeal and even the value of your home.

But, if done the wrong way, efforts to enhance your outside space can leave it looking cheap.

From choosing the wrong plant pots to – counterintuitively – being too tidy, the Mail’s gardening editor looks at the 11 common errors that can cheapen your garden, rather than helping it thrive. 

When tidy is too tidy

Many of us were brought up with strict ideas about well-kept gardens, with lawns neatly mown and weeds all pulled up. But that is no longer the prevailing aesthetic.

Letting go a little and being slightly untidy can lead to a more expensive looking haven. And leaving self-sown plants in summer and seed heads over winter will make your garden look more expensively abundant. Phew!

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic 

Yellow’s not mellow

Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for bright yellow flowers such as daffodils and sunflowers. But such garish flowers must be used in the right context.

Expansive garden beds the colour of a hi-vis vest? It’s a no. Yellow is difficult to match with other colours and should be used sparingly.

The perils of artificial grass

The quickest way to make your garden look cheap is to lay artificial turf. Used widely in sporting venues, fake grass became popular because it doesn’t need to be mowed or watered so is seen as low-maintenance and hard-wearing. But it almost always looks naff.

Plus, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. It is ruinous for wildlife and adds to global warming by absorbing more radiation than living grass, which acts as a carbon sink. Natural lawns allow rainwater to be soaked up, whereas artificial grass can cause run-off after heavy rainfall leading to flooding.

In hot weather, it can reach dangerous temperatures, especially for pets who might burn their paws. Plus, it only has a lifespan of ten to 20 years, after which time it is difficult to recycle.

 Soulless bare fences

Fences without greenery can make your garden look boxy and cheap. There are plenty of easy climbers you can plant to soften the feel and make your garden look more high-end.

Star Jasmine is a lovely evergreen with pretty white flowers, while climbing hydrangea is good for a shady corner.

If you want privacy, remember evergreen hedges can’t be more than 2m high, according to the High Hedges Act. Instead try planting deciduous silver birch trees with attractive white trunks and green foliage in summer when you are out in the garden.

Don’t settle for plastic furniture

Moulded plastic chairs are unsightly and should be avoided at all costs. Plus, they’re uncomfortable and topple if you lean too far back, or slice into any bare flesh unfortunate enough to touch the seat.

If your budget won’t stretch to buying new wood, rattan or metal alternatives, search local online groups to see if anyone has second hand deck chairs or outdoor dining sets on offer.

If you are willing to buy something preloved and weathered, it can often cost less but look more expensive.

Thin borders, a thing of the past

Narrow flower beds around the edge of a rectangular lawn used to be thought of as the ideal garden design, but these days it just looks scrimping.

Borders should be at least a metre deep to allow for multi-layered planting. Don’t just put them around the perimeter of your garden. Flower beds used to divide up a space add a touch of mystery and look much classier.

Gadgets and gazebos

Barbecues, fire pits, corner sofas, gazebos, over-sized paddling pools – its easy for your outdoor space to become cluttered with so many garden gadgets you can’t move around without tripping over them.

Decide what you really need and use often, then recycle the rest. Or store them away neatly in the shed until you want to use them.

Plastic plant pot horror

It is tricky to keep plants looking good in plastic containers, even the ones that attempt to imitate terracotta.

As well as the lack of sustainability, the trouble with plastic is that unlike materials such as wood and stone, it provides no protection for plants against drying out in summer and freezing in winter, and it is not breathable.

If you do have plastic pots, reuse them for propagating and save your best non-plastic containers for display purposes.

Paving the way to disaster  

Every gardener needs somewhere to sit, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of losing too much of your lawn.

Ideally there should be a ratio of at least two-thirds planting and grass to one-third hard surface. If you are putting in a new patio, consider leaving gaps between the pavers for low plants such as creeping thyme and Mind-Your-Own-Business which will also help with drainage. 

If you want to park your car in your front garden, choose a permeable surface with planting around the edges.

Fly-away greenhouses

I must confess I own one of these mini shelving units covered in a zip-up, see-through plastic smock. But after it fell over outside one too many times in windy weather, despite being tied to the wall, I have brought it in to our lean-to where I now use it as a propagating unit. A pile of overturned seed trays and spilled soil does nothing to add to kerb appeal.

Do away with dead pot plants 

Well-tended container planting can add a cheerful welcome to a garden or balcony, but there is little as off-putting as being greeted by a collection of unidentifiable shrivelled dead plants in pots.

Avoid this by doing your research and choosing plants you love which will encourage you to water and feed them regularly. Having a water butt nearby makes this task much easier.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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