A record proportion of London homeowners are selling up to buy cheaper property in the north and Midlands, using profits made in the capital to splurge on bigger homes.

Research by agents Hamptons International found the proportion of Londoners leaving the capital for northern England or the Midlands had tripled since 2010.

The average Londoner quitting the capital pays £424,610 for their new property, enough to buy a large detached house in a good suburb of Birmingham but which only pays for a two-bed flat above a shop in east London.

Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons, said: “With affordability stretched, more Londoners are moving out of the capital to find their new home.”

Many London leavers were looking for a bigger home or better local schools, Hamptons said. Beveridge added that hefty stamp duty charges were also pushing second-movers out of the capital. “More people are making a bigger move and buying a larger home sooner to avoid having to pay stamp duty on additional moves as they trade up. For many, this means heading further north.”

The average stamp duty bill for buying a detached home in the south is £14,780, compared with £5,358 in the north, Hamptons said.

But the absolute number of London leavers will strike many as surprisingly low. Hamptons said 30,280 Londoners sold their homes in the first half of 2018 to move out of the capital, a rise of 16% over the same period last year but below the level of 2007 and just a tiny fraction of the city’s 8.8 million population.

Most Londoners selling up move to the home counties, but the proportion going further afield has risen markedly in recent years. In 2008 one in 17 headed to the north or Midlands, but now the figure is one in five.

Some local housing markets are deluged by London buyers flush with cash from the capital’s superheated property market. Hamptons said in Bath and north-east Somerset 42% of all homes in the first half of 2018 were bought by Londoners.

Hamptons said the typical London leaver buying in the south-west of England paid nearly £550,000 for a home. It said moves to the south-west were not just about retirement, with evidence that many people are commuting long-distance back to the capital, often staying in London for a few days a week.

Other locations that have had a surge in London buyers include east Dorset, where 25% of homes were sold to ex-Londoners, and Leicester, where one in 10 homes were sold to Londoners in the first half of 2018.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/charts/embed/aug/2018-08-27T12:30:52/embed.html

In some towns, such as Hastings, the surge in Londoners is blamed for pushing up prices to levels that local residents cannot afford and creating gentrified enclaves.

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Hamptons also looked at first-time buyer patterns. It found that one in three young adults living in London were unable to make their first property purchase in the city. Hamptons said that in the first half of 2018, 31% of first-time buyers living in London ended up buying outside the capital – almost double the proportion in 2013 (16%).

However, that was a slight improvement on last year, with the help-to-buy scheme assisting some purchasers. “But even though more Londoners are buying their first home in the capital than last year, more are being priced out of the south altogether,” Hamptons said.

Separate data released on Monday by Hometrack underlines the gulf between property prices in the capital and the rest of the country. It found that while prices in Belfast, Liverpool and Aberdeen remain below the level they were a decade ago, in London and Cambridge they are more than 65% higher.

It found that house prices in a quarter of the UK’s largest cities are struggling to recover to their level at the height of the financial crisis, with Belfast worst hit. Prices there are still 28% below the level of 2008.

In Liverpool, average prices are 1% below where they were a decade ago, while in Glasgow they are just 1% higher (£121,940) and 3% ahead in Newcastle (£128,641).

In contrast, homeowners in Cambridge have seen the value of their properties rocket by 70% on average, to £432,410.

Richard Donnell of Hometrack, said: “The fact house prices in some of our biggest cities are still recovering from the financial crisis shows how big an impact it had on the UK’s regional housing markets.

“While 2008 was the year when house prices fell at their fastest rate, they continued to fall for a further three to four years in the weaker performing markets as the impact of the recession and restricted credit availability hit the value of people’s homes.”

 This article was amended on 27 August 2018 to clarify that there is a record proportion, not a record number, of Londoners selling their homes and moving north.

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