The British capital calls to people for all sorts of reasons and at all kinds of ages and junctures in life. Sometimes, a job opportunity makes the decision for you, but at other times your reasons might be more whimsical. Perhaps you’ve lived here before and want to return. Or maybe it’s something you’ve never done but have always wanted to. You may have been part of the pandemic-era flight to the countryside and, now that things are comparatively settled, you’ve discovered that the quieter life just isn’t for you and you wish you’d never left. But whatever your motivation, when it comes to the question of whether now’s the right time, there’s no simple answer. It’s a case of ‘yes and no’, depending on your circumstances and requirements. Completely uprooting yourself is never easy or straightforward and, when it comes to London, this is going to be exacerbated by additional expenses.
It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention that we’re in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis the likes of which have not been seen in the UK for decades and decades. Sundry grocery items can be as much as three times the cost they were two years ago. So if you’re not reasonably recession-proofed, whether by a high, stable income, savings or family money, it’s hard to argue that 2023 is a particularly good time to make London your home. Of course, you can mitigate this to some extent, depending on the kind of lifestyle you’re pursuing. If you’re young and/or unfussy, and simply looking for a house share that doesn’t need to be in the centre of the city, then the gloomy financial outlook doesn’t need to be a deal-breaker. But if you need to live alone or want to buy or rent a house with your family, prepare for a far higher financial outlay.
A knock-on effect of the elevated prices in London, both for renting and buying, mean that some people’s moves can only be realised by settling for a smaller property, and in 2023 that’s as true as ever. This reluctant downsizing can mean that in the aftermath of the move, you have too many belongings for too little space. A temporary to medium-term solution is containerised storage or self-storage.
Time of Year
When you ask yourself the question whether or not it’s a good time to move to London, you may be referring not just to the year, but also the time of year. We’re in late summer heading into early autumn and this brings with it some advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately, the former outweigh the latter. The longer days and warmer weather mean your move can go ahead without being fraught with complicating factors such as wet or icy roads and darkness by 4pm. In the summer, it’s possible to move in and unpack while still having a long, bright evening to enjoy. It’s also frequently an easier time to sell up, so your move is less likely to be hindered by something going wrong in the moving chain. But the downsides? You need to be meticulous about planning because removals companies are generally busier – leave it too late and your chosen companies could be fully booked. And while the clement weather can be an advantage, it can turn against you if it becomes a heatwave and you find yourself unpacking boxes in pools of sweat, enervated by relentless humidity. Not only will this be tiring, but you’ll also need to be conscientious about rehydration.
This factor is, perhaps, the most important. Of all the variables that determine whether a move works out well, your personal circumstances are perhaps the ones most likely to tip the balance. For example, do you have a job already lined up? Are you a go-getting, determined graduate whose qualifications mean you’re almost certain to be snapped up for a promising professional role? Taking the leap and moving to a city as expensive as London is far more likely to pan out in your favour if you already have all or at least most ducks in a row. Do you already have a support network of friends and/or family members in the capital? Or are you an old-hand who’s already lived in London and therefore know the score? Given that the British capital tends to hover somewhere in the Top 3 of Most Expensive Cities in Europe, moving here on a whim is certainly not for the faint-hearted. For the young, any list of sensible steps to take would have to begin with making sure you have enough money for at least three months if you’re moving here before finding a means of support. For those moving with families, it would be advisable to have researched local schools far in advance and also to have thought about the kinds of neighbourhoods that are good to grow up in which, depending on the scale of your finances, could range from a central area like Chelsea to an outskirt such as Blackheath.
So is 2023 Really the Right Year to do it?
Maybe, maybe not. The situation is hardly ideal. Since the covid era and the political machinations that occurred towards the end of it, most notably some of the questionable decisions made during the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Truss government, mortgage rates have meant fewer and fewer people can up sticks and buy a home. If you’re a first-time buyer, the advice at the moment is to press pause on your plans of moving to London until 2024. And the situation is no rosier for renters. The market has been left in a mercurial state, but there is some cause for cautious hope: the Centre For Economics And Business Research are predicting that prices will fall and mortgage rates become less severe at some point next year. These sentiments are shared by housing reporters in the national press, with The Telegraph and Times also encouraging people to wait. Whether you’re going to heed that advice or not, you can get all the moving help your need from us when you’re ready to move.