A FIFTH of homes on the market in Brighton and Hove last year were bought by Londoners escaping the capital, figures reveal.

That is according to an analysis of sales data in 112 areas by estate agent Hamptons.

The firm said 19% of properties in the area bought between January 1 and December 12 were snapped up by people from London – up from 9% the previous year.

Its data showed that, across Britain as a whole, people leaving London purchased nearly 74,000 homes over the period – the most since 2016, when they bought more than 78,000.

And they are travelling further since the housing market re-opened in May following the first Covid-19 lockdown, the analysis suggests.

The Argus: The amount of property in Brighton bought by Londoners was up last yearThe amount of property in Brighton bought by Londoners was up last year

The median distance moved by a Londoner buying outside the capital hit 40 miles for the first time in over a decade, up from just 28 miles during the first three months of the year.

The median is the middle of a range of figures, meaning it will not be skewed by people who moved exceptionally long distances.

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Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at the company, said: “While leaving London has been a rite of passage for many – often for families reaching life stage milestones – the effects of lockdown and the desire for space seems to have h eightened this drift.

“We expect this out-migration trend to continue into the first half of 2021 too. But usually as prices in the capital begin to flatline, which we forecast to happen in the second half of 2021, more Londoners decide to stay put.

“Even so, given the housing market has been anything but normal since the onset of Covid, we expect to see the total number of homes bought by London leavers this year hit 2016 levels.”

The Argus: Londoners are expected to continue leaving the capital this yearLondoners are expected to continue leaving the capital this year

Sevenoaks saw the biggest increase in capital leavers, with the share of homes bought by Londoners rising from 23% to 62%.

This was followed by Windsor and Maidenhead, where the figure rose from 11% to 38%.

Ms Beveridge said the Stamp Duty Tax holiday brought in earlier this year had encouraged more homeowners to make the shift.

She added that the prospect of homeworking more regularly has also meant people are keener to move further afield.