Migration 'not behind southern property boom'

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The Independent Online

Claims that the housing boom in London and the South East was triggered by northerners moving down to find work are a myth, a report published today claimed.

Claims that the housing boom in London and the South East was triggered by northerners moving down to find work are a myth, a report published today claimed.

Migration out of Scotland, Wales, the North of England and the West Midlands played only a minor part in raising demand for homes in the south, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said. It found that the boom in South East England was fuelled by people moving out of London while the surge in house prices in the capital was due to a flood of workers arriving from overseas.

JRF said future pressure on housing would come from a growing population. Government figures show an extra 4.3 million homes will be needed over the next 25 years compared with an estimate of 3.8 million in 1996. "In regional terms, the greatest pressures will continue to be felt in southern England, with the population of the South East alone expected to increase by 50,000 people a year," it said.

Analysis of population movements over the eight years to 1998 showed only 8 per cent of growth in the south was due to people moving from the north. In fact the exodus from London contributed half of the growth, with 25 per cent coming from high birth rates. "It is wrong to assume that pressures for more homes in the south are caused by northerners moving in," JRF said in its report, On The Move.

Around 40,000 leave the six non-metropolitan cities a year but most move to rural areas in the region rather than the south, it said.

Figures from the Nationwide Building Society showed house prices in London rising at 25 per cent a year, with prices rising by just 5.4 per cent in Scotland.

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