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2nd January 2024

Most popular destination for London leavers

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While London might still be pulling in tourists, for some it’s starting to lose its appeal as a place to live due to high house prices. In fact, in the past three years over 350,000 people have left the city for greener pastures.

At ukphonebook.com, we’ve analysed our location data to find out where these London leavers are heading to. We looked at the number of people who moved out of London in 2020 and in 2023, and where they live now.




Here’s what we found:

Top 10 places people moved to since 2020 after living in London

The most popular choice of location for people moving from London was the nearby Chelmsford. This comes as no surprise, as this Essex location still has easy access to London but with lower house prices.

RankDestinationTotal moved from London since 2020
1Chelmsford19,327
2Tonbridge16,526
3Guildford16,360
4Redhill15,470
5Hemel Hempstead13,422
6Medway Towns13,112
7Brighton12,271
8Southend on Sea11,286
9Reading10,676
10Slough10,130


A Chelmsford City Council spokesperson said:

“Chelmsford is a great place to live and work, with excellent transport links to London.

“It takes just half an hour to get from Chelmsford station to Liverpool Street and a second main line station at Beaulieu Park is due to open in the district at the end of 2025. The city is a thriving regional centre, with a vibrant high street and picturesque villages on its doorstep.


“The district is also blessed with beautiful green spaces and has some of the highest numbers of Green Flag parks found in the East of England. With great schools, universities and innovators in technology, science and education all based in Chelmsford, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular choice.”

Of the top 10, Brighton is furthest from London – but at around 47 miles from London it shows that people leaving the big smoke still want to be within touching distance.

House price difference of most popular destinations

Using Rightmove data, we found the difference in house prices between Greater London and movers’ destinations.

Homes in Chelmsford are – on average - £322,371 cheaper than in Greater London. Despite it only being 40 miles away and just 1 hr on the train away from King’s Cross.

All the top 10 provided a considerable financial incentive to leave London. Guildford had the highest average house price – and that was still £120,985 cheaper than living in London.

Those moving to the Medway Towns of Kent could expect a saving of £391,474 on their home.

DestinationAverage house priceDifference to London HP
Chelmsford£397,908-£322,371
Tonbridge£479,790-£240,489
Guildford£599,294-£120,985
Redhill£515,453-£204,826
Hemel Hempstead£437,166-£283,113
Medway Towns£328,805-£391,474
Brighton£351,335-£368,944
Southend on Sea£347,995-£372,284
Reading£431,545-£288,734
Slough£442,667-£277,612

Most popular destinations by percentage of local population

While places like Brighton can easily absorb the tens of thousands of people arriving from London, smaller towns like Tonbridge might find it harder. This market town in Kent saw 16,526 people from London move here in the last three years – making up 40% of the total population.

DestinationDestination population% of total pop 2020
Tonbridge4129340.02
St Albans2504273.14
Chelmsford6534922.96
Redhill5325362.90
Hemel Hempstead4883512.75
Slough3736072.71
Guildford7253682.26
Stevenage4029112.22
Southend on Sea5186772.18
Medway Towns6071432.16

Top 10 regions people chose after living in London

We also took a wider view to see which were the most popular regions for those leaving London. We looked at the data from a county and regional perspective.

The most popular counties are all ones bordering London – Kent, Essex, and Surrey. Each attracted over 30,000 people in the past three years from London.

Councillor Mark Durham, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for the Arts, Heritage and Culture, said:

“There are so many reasons why Essex is a fantastic place to live, visit, work and do business.

“We have scenic rural locations, picturesque villages, beautiful country parks and historic towns and cities, all surrounded by our stunning 350-mile coastline.

“We are also located close to London and have excellent transport connections, including two international airports, while around three-quarters of our schools are rated ‘Good’ or above by Ofsted.

“Through Visit Essex, we want to inspire more people to visit the county. There is so much to explore and discover.”

RegionMovers since 2020Movers since 2022
Kent378618246
Essex366648658
Surrey318306736
Hertfordshire302226402
Berkshire208064071
West Midlands126602461
East Sussex122712529
Hampshire118592006
Cambridgeshire101472178
Greater Manchester97991799


Moving away from counties directly outside London, the most popular destination was the West Midlands (12660). Greater Manchester also made the top 10 with nearly 10,000 people heading north in the past three years.

At a wider regional level, we can see how the majority of people stayed within the South East – with over 200,000 leaving London for somewhere close by.

However, we can also see large numbers heading north – whether to the North West (20964), Yorkshire (14924) or even further into Scotland (11547).

We also discovered that a number of people left mainland Britain completely with the Isle of Man and Channel Islands attracting hundreds of people.

RegionMovers since 2020Movers since 2022
South East20012641972
South West400746546
East Midlands254395389
North West209643664
West Midlands181953407
Yorkshire149242341
Scotland115471488
East79741514
Wales6698994
North East61001085
Northern Ireland1885274
Isle of Man2543
Channel Islands1400

Where people moved to from London in the past year

The figures for the past year are very similar to the previous three years. In the top 10, there was only one major difference – Slough was replaced by Stevenage at number 10.

DestinationTotal moved from London since 2022
Chelmsford4,956
Tonbridge3,446
Guildford3,432
Redhill3,304
Medway Towns3,256
Southend on Sea2,730
Hemel Hempstead2,723
Brighton2,529
Reading2,294
Stevenage1,874

Chelmsford attracted nearly 5,000 people from London in the past year.

How we gathered our data

ukphonebook.com uses a variety of data sources, including Land Registry house price sales and postcode data. We combine these publicly available various sources to provide a highly detailed search function.

We also have access to historical data, so we can see which people lived in a London postcode in 2022 and 2020, and where those same people live today.

We have not revealed any personal details in our analysis, as we always comply with data regulations and GDPR laws.

About

Simunix is the development team behind ukphonebook.com. We also offer our services via T2A Web Services API, 118 365 directory assistance number and our powerful corporate service; ORBIS.

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