Return to London

Apr 08, 2021
London at NIght

While current events may have accelerated some Londoner’s decisions to make the switch from metropolitan life, there are still those that couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

A melting pot for culture and creativity, the city’s dynamism, and abundance of places to explore can make the prospect of ever leaving sound like a hard sell. 

With the hope of brighter days on the horizon, we’ve surveyed 2,000 people from all walks of life who currently live in London to see when they plan on moving, what they’d miss the most if they were to ever leave, and which boroughs they see themselves gravitating towards in the future.

London's still calling

When asked where they would like to move to in the future (finances depending), 85% of respondents selected an area within the capital. In fact, each respondent said that they were most likely to move within their current borough, rather than relocate to another area of London. The results also revealed that in the next 1 or 2 years, 1 in 4 are planning to move.

Most plan to move within London in 1-2 years

Those who work in sales, retail, catering and leisure are most likely to be contemplating a move within the next 6 months. This may be reflective of the employment trends since lockdown. 1-2 years was selected the most by those working in finance, marketing, and healthcare. For people who hold professions in either education, legal or manufacturing, 3-5 years was the most selected timeframe.

Food, glorious food

World renowned for the diversity of its dining, nearly half of all Londoner’s selected restaurants and food options as one of the things they’d miss the most if they were to move away from the capital. In addition, with so many specialist shops and boutiques, 42.9% also said that this would be a perk that they would miss leaving behind. Proximity to family and friends was not far behind, with 40.9% saying that their relationships are one of the main reasons they’re rooted to London.

Moving motivators

Different professions have different motivations for moving. Creative professions, legal professions and those working in travel and transport are looking to buy a house in a location which allows them to upsize to a bigger property. People with careers in sales and education want to be closer to their friends and family, and people working in IT want to live closer to work.

Next stop, Greenwich, Croydon, and Camden

Those who work in HR, sales, or media & marketing, selected Croydon as their borough of choice if they were to move in the future. The riverside locale of Greenwich, with its stunning views and rich history, proved to be the most popular among those working in retail, hospitality, travel, and architecture. As a hub for the arts and education, Camden naturally proved to be the most popular for people who hold professions in these fields.

The modern London personas…

Through our research we found a diverse and vibrant range of personalities from all walks of life living in London; here are just four examples of the people who make up our great city. Which one are you?

For those that work in the creative industries [media & marketing, and arts & culture] most respondents said that they would be working in an office or workspace environment 5 days a week, despite the effects of lockdown on the nations working habits. It’s clear for them, the working culture remains a key part of their identity, whether that be collaborative working, sharing ideas with a team, or using studio space to get creative.

It might not come as a surprise, then, that those who work in creative industries ticked diversity & culture (40.98%) as the thing they’d miss the most if they were to ever leave the capital. In addition, 22.95% said that the ability to upsize to a bigger property would be the most important factor when deciding to move to another borough.

For these Culture Vultures, London will always be the epicentre of the arts and creativity. From browsing local independent shops, to trying new and exciting restaurants, the constant stimulation of the city’s diversity and culture means they’re never too far away from their next inspiration.

For those working in the finance or legal sectors, the majority (37.90% and 36.36% respectively) stated that they still intend to commute into the office 5 days a week. In these demanding yet rewarding roles, the opportunity to collaborate and the buzz of office life is still a clear draw. A permanent switch to remote working was the least selected option, with under 5% saying that they plan to do this in the future for each profession.   


60% of those in a legal profession cited the restaurant and food options as being the aspect of city life they would miss the most, proving to be the most popular option. With some of the city’s best restaurants a stone’s throw away from the head offices and agencies that make up London’s bustling business districts, extravagant lunches and entertaining clients would be the norm. Partial to some retail therapy, the range of shops that London has to offer would be missed the most by those with a legal background, with 61.82% of respondents choosing this. From specialist boutiques to luxury designer stores, shopping in the capital provides a great way to unwind after a busy week.   


For this modern city slicker, connectivity is still important however, and both career paths selected either proximity to friends and family (18.55% and 23.64%) or upsizing to a bigger property (16.94% and 30.91%) as the most important factors when deciding a move. As a result, they are looking for the best of both worlds when it comes to expanding their property search, with areas like Kensington and Chelsea being the ideal borough where they hope to upsize.

Respondents who work in either retail, catering, or leisure plan on returning to the workplace 5 days a week as well, with a majority of 41.26% selecting this option. Due to this sector being primarily customer facing, lockdown has been particularly tough towards this group. Though with the prospect of brighter days on the horizon, many of the capital’s shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants will be no doubt looking forward to when they can safely open to customers once more.

With their hospitality insider knowledge and knack for unearthing spots off the beaten bath, its not surprising that this foodie would miss London’s restaurant offerings the most, with 53.40% highlighting this as one of their favourite parts of city life. Environmentally conscious, they also love spending time with family and friends in scenic outdoor parks, with 19.42% citing green spaces as the biggest allure when deciding to move.

With its vast areas of parkland and village like charm, it makes sense that Richmond upon Thames was one of the two boroughs this persona sees themselves gravitating towards the most, with 13.11% of participants selecting this as the place they’d like to move in the future. Greenwich came out on top however, with its rich history and beautiful riverside setting also proving popular with 13.59% choosing this location.

For London’s healthcare workers, the majority (38.04%) still plan on commuting into the workplace five days a week. With helping others an intrinsic part of their daily lives, it makes sense that only 1.61% see themselves in a position to be able to work remotely full time. Similarly, transport workers also plan on visiting the workplace five days a week, with their roles integral to the city’s infrastructure.

Both professions highlighted the range of shops, and proximity to friends and family as being aspects they’d miss the most if they ever said goodbye to city life. The survey results also revealed that most healthcare workers (11.41%) and transport workers (12.68%) plan on remaining where they are. These people may already have roots placed in their current boroughs, with families of their own.

When it comes to their moving motivators, there are several factors that could sway them however, with being able to settle down in a more affordable borough (25.54%) the most important factor for healthcare workers. As for those working in travel and transport, the ability to upsize and more green space were the joint top picks, with 25.35% choosing this.

Barratt London have been building houses in some of London's most popular areas since the 1950's. From new homes in West London, flats in Hounslow or Acton, to South London, Tooting and Mitcham.


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