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Revealed: where people want to live (and where they want to leave)

It’s probably not a surprise but new research has revealed where people want to move to - as well as where they most badly want to move away from.

Research by Barclays Mortgages shows that almost a third of people in Birmingham and London strongly wish to leave and move to greener areas - the highest figures in the country.

And in terms of where people want to move to, the clear winner is the south west of England, with parts of Wales and Scotland as runners up.


Barclays employs a behavioural scientist, Dr Peter Brooks, to assess patterns of house moving and changing buyer aspirations. 

“This research indicates an aspiration for a big move and complete lifestyle change. More outside space and the benefits of being closer to friends and family are high on the ‘must have’ list for many movers. As working from home becomes more commonplace moving cross-country looks to be more achievable for many as there is less of a need to be within a short commute to the office” he says. 

“If the findings of this research are reflected in the housing market, we could well see a trend for people to leave urban areas in favour of more rural locations.”

Also quantified in the research, although unsurprising in principle, are buyers’ desires to live near or with outdoor space, within close proximity of essential services, closer to relatives, and somewhere with a stronger local community.

Barclays’ survey was of 2,000 adults across the UK.

Over a quarter of those polled stated a preference to be close to the seaside, and similar amounts wished to live in more rural areas.

Top ten cities homeowners wish to leave post-lockdown

Top location(s) residents wish to move to

Birmingham (32 per cent)

South-West (24 per cent) or Wales (22 per cent)

London (30 per cent)

South-West (20 per cent)

Leeds (28 per cent)

Scotland and South-East (19 per cent each)

Norwich (27 per cent)

Wales (20 per cent)

Nottingham (25 per cent)

South-west (26 per cent)

Sheffield (21 per cent)

East Midlands and North East (14 per cent each)

Liverpool (21 per cent)

Scotland (25 per cent)

Manchester (20 per cent)

North East, South West, Wales and Yorkshire and Humber (15 per cent each)

Glasgow (20 per cent)

South East (18 per cent)

Newcastle (19 per cent)

Scotland (47 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (33 per cent)

  • Stephen Hayter

    Whilst thoroughly enjoying living in the South West for the last 30 years I wonder if the behavioural scientist has built into his consideration the lack of Barclays Branches, ATM’s, internet download speeds and mobile phone signals?

  • Richard Copus

    I agree totally Simon as a long time Devon resident having moved from London/Surrey 30 odd years ago too. Lots of green down here but far fewer facilities and not much money!
    There's much wishful thinking going on at the moment which will probably disperse as the new order finds our big cities cleaner and quieter. The facts indicate more than a few people seriously looking to move from London to wider spaces, but most of them want to be within easy hailing distance of the capital which means within a hundred miles or under a two hour drive or train journey, and of course Wiltshire and Bristol form part of the south-west for statistical purposes although they are not really in the south-west demographically.

  • Angelo  Piccirillo CEO AVRillo

    I was one of those looking to potentially move from the smoke, but having read the comments, my new question, does it have a nearby tube station, and will it get me into London in 25 minutes. If not, I might just enjoy my drives into Devon, Cornwall and all the other beautiful places we forgot about pre Covid.

    • 06 August 2020 20:36 PM

    It may not have a Tube stn but you would get a seat if you moved to Margate as an example.
    Commute to Central London about 1.45 hrs.
    Doing that say twice a week no problem.

    So Margate compared to a 25 min Tube journey that you won't need to make every day.

    You get a lot more bang for your buck than where you are currently.

    I'm afraid being within a short commuting distance of the office will no longer be required that much.

  • Angelo  Piccirillo CEO AVRillo

    Hi Paul. You are so right. Margate another underrated area. Kent the garden of England. I could read on the train. Wow! What a luxury.

    Also took the kids for the first time in Rye on the East Sussex coast. Some of those buildings date back to 1440, cobbled stones and a 4 star pub lunch.

    It so nice to re-discover the beauty and fresher air outside London.

    • 07 August 2020 02:15 AM

    Yep it is obvious why there has been the imperative to reside near London for the daily commute.

    I believe EA have a fantastic opportunity to entice Londoners and their money to areas they previously wouldn't have considered.

    As you suggest there are many better areas and considerably cheaper.

    Bizarrely I believe that this CV19 crisis will be a fantastic opportunity for EA to assist what is effectively 'white flight'.

    Very few in diverse areas will wish to move out of their communities.

    But for 'white flight' there are many opportunities for EA to assist this flight to far better circumstances than they currently have.

    Once the supposed imperative to live with Tube distance has been eradicated then opportunity to move to the areas you suggest with a far better quality of life is easily achieved.

    I believe CV19 will be the catalyst for the biggest mass movement out of London for decades.
    WFH is a major change.
    Office workers have supported the London housing market since the war.
    Now providing a train can get you to Central London within about 1.30 hrs then I believe that will drive coastal property prices up.

    There is simply no way that office workers will return in the numbers they previously were.

    The proverbial genie is out of the bottle.
    Companies have seen they don't need expensive London offices.

    I believe we will see an upsurge in property values 1.30 hrs away from Central London.

    Norfolk; Suffolk, Kent; Essex, Sussex coastal areas will see an increase in property values.

    This will be very good news fo these coastal areas that have suffered economically.

    I believe EA are well placed to entice OO out of London to the delights of coastal areas not far from London.
    1.30 hrs train journey is nothing.
    It used to take me 50 mins by Tube to travel 15 miles to Central London.
    If one chooses a end of the line coastal location like Margate you will always get a seat in the morning!!

    I believe the traditional EA perspective of all London property expensive and all outside London cheaper will change.

    Remember in those coastal areas that was where the London well to do of London went to get away from stinking London and so many mansion type properties were built.

    We are sort of having this again facilitated by WFH possibilities.
    Essentially there is no need to be near 'stinking' London anymore.

    Enlightened EA will do well to push the delights of areas away from London with far bigger and cheaper properties.
    It is welcome that London wealth will be exported to outlying areas from London especially east of London where properties are cheaper than the Shires.

    Value is to be found in outlying areas to the coast East and South of London.

    Bizarrely out of this CV19 crisis there will be a significant potential increase in business for EA.


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