Why Londoners are moving to buzzy Exeter
pace is starting to slow as the UK’s market as a whole slumps. In April the annual rate of growth sunk to just 2.7 per cent, a fall of almost six percentage points.
The soaring market is largely due to a shortage of available homes, and new development in the city is booming. Even members of the Exeter Chiefs rugby team are in on the game, launching their own property company, Tomahawk Homes. They have started building two developments outside the city.
The Bransdons were among the 3,000 London leavers who last year settled in and around Exeter, which is currently one of Britain’s five fastestgrowing cities. In the city, urbanites can find cheaper house prices and a less stressful lifestyle, surrounded by natural beauty.
“Buyers want a more sustainable way of living, and around Exeter they can find ‘ forever homes’ that they’d only ever dream of buying in London, while making no compromise on education or employment,” says Louise Glanville of Knight Frank. “Many are making the move to the countryside 10 years sooner than they originally planned.”
The Met Office, the University of Exeter and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital are major local employers, while a report by the Centre for Cities shows an increase of 3,000 private sector jobs in Exeter – up 5.1 per cent on the previous year. The city is also home to an increasing number of digital tech jobs and start-ups, including CrowdCube, Britain’s most successful crowdfunding platform.
It is the city’s access to open space and fresh air that is the major draw for buyers such as the Bransdons. Their flat in London’s Bayswater, near Hyde Park and the shops and bars of Notting Hill, was perfect when they were newly-weds but when their first child, Amelie, now two, was born, it began to feel cramped. “London is not the healthiest or safest place to bring up children so we started looking further afield,” says Bransdon.
When they discovered that a house in Devon cost half as much as the equivalent in the Home Countries, they moved their search to Exeter. They eventually fell in love with a fourbedroom thatched cottage with gardens and paddocks near Thorverton, a