EVER-more people were shunning the capital to live in Essex, even before the pandemic.
A whopping 35,154 people left London to move to Essex in the year to June 2019, while 15,405 people moved from Essex to London.
It means London suffered a net loss of 19,748 people to Essex, or 54 a day, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
That meant that Essex had the highest net influx of people from London of all counties.
This was the biggest net gain in Londoners moving to Essex in the nine years of available data.
But Covid-19 is expected to accelerate the number of people leaving London even more, according to Russell Quirk from Keller Williams Plus, the Essex Estate Agent, who said London is “fast becoming a place to work but not to live”.
Pre-pandemic Thurrock had the highest net gain of people from London in Essex, with 3,960 more people moving from the capital to the area than went the other way.
Southend, Braintree, Brentwood and Uttlesford all saw record net gains in people moving to those areas from London in 2019.
Maldon saw the smallest net gain from the capital, of 308 people.
As of March (the last figures available), the average home costs £311,948 in Essex, compared to the average £486,000 it costs to buy a home in London.
Overall London saw a net loss of 93,992 people to other parts of the UK in 2019.
That was down from a loss of 103,230 in 2018 and 106,608 people in 2017, but it is more than double the 40,352 net loss in 2011, when comparable records began.
In the year to June 2019, 255,304 people moved to the capital, while 349,296 left – record numbers both arriving and leaving.
In June and July 2019, 55 per cent of enquiries made by Londoners to estate agents were looking into moves within the capital, with 45 per cent outside.
By this year it had flipped, with 46 per cent moving within the capital, and 54 per cent outside.
Mr Quirk said: “The attraction is the choice of employment and, of course, the higher salaries that exist in the capital vs the suburbs.
“Covid has further accentuated the wish to stay local, or indeed to stay at home to work. With tube trains being akin to 60mph test tubes, no wonder Londoners are choosing to move further afield.
“Essex is a very natural choice given that it remains close to one’s London roots, that it has not one but two rail lines serving it and it is less than 60 minutes from just about anywhere in the county.
“If you add in the following Essex benefits – green space, high performing schools, the longest coastline in Britain and house prices that are between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of the capital’s – it’s easy to see why the net outflow from London to here is so notable.”