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Why stalling house prices and a shrinking population might not be a bad thing for Londoners

A gentler pace of growth may prove to be no bad thing for the capital

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd
Prudence IveyEditor, Homes & Property
20 July 2021

aving written for over a year about central London’s declining rents, I decided to follow my own advice and move to Zone 1.

Pre-pandemic this would have been well out of my price range but, with London hollowed out, flats are heavily discounted.

Good for me! But is my short-term luck actually a harbinger of long-term catastrophe for a city grappling not only with the after effects of a pandemic but also with the slow burn slump of Brexit?

As Ruth Bloomfield reported last week, the capital’s population is forecast to drop by 300,000 this year.

The once-rampant rise in house prices has stalled compared with the rest of the UK and anecdotally, primary school class sizes have shrunk by a fifth.

We have yet to find out if this is a long-term trend or if these London lightweights will be storming the M25 before 2022 is out but, even if they don’t, those of us who depend on the city’s success may not need to worry.

Most experts agree that housing costs had rocketed out of control. Many factors point to house-price growth becoming slow and steady and businesses retaining a London base.

If we’re set to combine that with quieter streets, schools that aren’t oversubscribed and the occasional seat on public transport, perhaps the time has come to thank our former neighbours.

Just don’t make it sound too good lest they return.