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Lon Res: Industry expert David Williams on the country market

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that a staggering 291,630 people migrated out of London and into other areas of the UK last year, 110,180 of whom moved to the South East. This is almost 100,000 more than moved into the city in the same period. David Williams, director at Grantley, discusses this trend and the reasons why the South East, in particular Surrey, is so appealing to those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life…

“The migration of London buyers to the Surrey Hills shows little signs of slowing. And it’s not hard to see the appeal – good transport links, excellent schooling and above all a contented way of life surrounded by rolling countryside and strong community spirit. Younger families moving from London are drawn to a safer, cleaner environment in which to bring up their children. Coupled with this, Guildford is surrounded by outstanding prep-schools that feed into some of the country’s leading senior schools. In recent years we have seen a shift in the buying habits of Londoners. The preference for a weekend home in the country has been replaced by a family home in the country and a small pied-à-terre in town. But this relies on accessing fast transport links into the capital – a key part of the decision-making process for buyers balancing the viability of an area with early starts. Increasingly we find that London buyers are selling up in town and renting before buying in the country. This way they’re able to try out country life before committing and importantly move swiftly when that special village house becomes available. In our experience London buyers are decisive. And this decisiveness is not lost on sellers. It frequently puts them at an advantage to local, perhaps more cautious, purchasers. Good houses in great roads will always sell for a premium, but being able to act quickly will often secure a sale over a higher price.”

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