Love is in the air in London but it’s not due to Valentine’s Day or the premier of 50 Shades of Grey, although granted this may have added to the volume of swooning couples on the streets of the capital the weekend just passed.

Britain’s biggest online property portal Rightmove has released figures stating that around 75% of first time buyers in London are young couples. However as young, aspirational couples look to get on the London property ladder, their older counterparts are looking to do the reverse.

Those further along the couple’s timeline looking to settle down and have children are vacating London in search of smaller, more family orientated cities. Research from Knight Franks has highlighted three cities where the growth of house prices has outstripped that of London, these being Bristol, Cheltenham and Oxford.

Due in part to improvements in transport links shortening commute times and the fact that house prices in the capital have increased by 70% in the last decade, many London couples starting the next phase of their life have chosen to cash in while they can and to do so outside of London.

Leading online estate agent eMoov.co.uk has tracked the decline of prime central London as buyers in the capital opt for more commuter friendly zones with lower house prices. In particular eMoov highlighted a notable increase in the demand for property in London’s surrounding areas such as Guildford and Brentwood, so these latest findings come as little surprise.

Head of Marketing Stephen Jury commented “We have seen an increase in demand for property outside of the capital throughout the course of the year. It’s no revelation that some of these areas, Bristol, Oxford and so on, are outstripping prime central London at the moment as the market there, to put it bluntly, is in free fall.

What is interesting is that those looking for a better quality of life where family is concerned, are looking much further afield then Greater London and the neighbouring counties and are prepared to forsake London for a different city all together.

Our previous research found that 47% of people would only consider moving up to 20 miles away from their original location. These latest findings would suggest that the availability of affordable property in London has become so low, that people are prepared to look a great deal further before starting a family.”

eMoov’s latest Hotspots Index found that demand for property in Oxford was at 45% placing it in the top 30 Hotspots. With demand for property in Bristol at 62%, it puts the city at number six out of the 100 most in demand areas of the UK.

It would seem the offer of a city life style without the addition of a London price tag has proved too much for the majority to resist. It will be interesting to see how these places fair when eMoov release their latest Hotspot Index next month and if this high demand for property is still present.

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