21st December 2020

Remote Working Trend Sees Rise In Londoners Moving North

As costs to live in London continue to rise and remote working becomes the norm, the trend in people moving to the North of England for more affordable and comfortable living shows no signs of slowing.

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Remote Working Trend Sees Rise In Londoners Moving North
  • Manchester-based build to rent development Duet Salford Quays reports a 159% increase in website visits in October 2020 compared to the previous year
  • Increasing acceptance of working from home is thought to be driving a surge in Londoners relocating to the North
  • The two-hour journey between London and Manchester makes commuting easy


As costs to live in London continue to rise and remote working becomes the norm, the trend in people moving to the North of England for more affordable and comfortable living shows no signs of slowing.

With the population of Manchester’s city centre set to double in the next five years, the newest Build to Rent (BTR) development in MediaCityUK, Duet Salford Quays, has seen traffic to its Manchester-based lettings website rise significantly since the start of the pandemic, with the rate of London-based web users increasing by 189% in October 2020, compared to the same month the previous year.

Duet’s market analysts believe the growing prevalence of the work from home movement could be driving the demand, as the need to work from central London offices continues to dwindle and of course the lower cost of northern living has long been a pull for residents of the capital.

2020 studies suggest that consumer prices in Manchester are now 15% cheaper than London and with a major difference in living costs between the two cities, combined with the increased need for remote working, it’s no surprise that Londoners are being drawn north for a better quality of life.

The average rent of a two-bedroom flat in London’s Canary Wharf comes in at £2,300pcm while rent at Duet Salford Quays, which many believe to be Manchester’s answer to Canary Wharf, costs as little as £1,080pcm for a two-bed apartment.

A 28-day Metrolink tram ticket for unlimited travel between zones 1-3 in Manchester costs just £84.20. In London however, travelling on the tube twice a day at peak times for 28 days between zones 1-3 costs more than double this amount, at roughly £184.80, and this cost excludes any additional weekend or leisure travel.

Beyond the difference in rent and the travel costs in the two cities, the ease of transport from Manchester to surrounding cities, such as Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield, adds an additional incentive for Londoners and businesses looking to make the move up north.  

Manchester, England’s northern powerhouse, has also seen a boom in business in the last decade following the relocation of major tech firms and broadcast houses, such as the BBC and ITV, to Manchester’s MediaCityUK. These businesses are likely to have been amongst the first to see the trend and take advantage of Manchester as a cost effective city for living and working.

Jay Hofman, aged 33, a Data Activist who relocated from London to Manchester’s Duet Salford Quays in August 2020, comments: “I’ve spent years living all over the world, from Europe to London to LA and finally decided it was time to find somewhere to settle.

“Between so many major tech firms moving to Manchester, having friends here, the great music and social scene and the overall cost of living, the city felt like the perfect fit. I was paying £2,500 for a two bed flat in Canary Warf and I was worried that I might miss that aspect of living in London, but actually living by Salford Quays is really reminiscent of Canary Warf – although the water is a lot cleaner here!

“My apartment in Duet is also exactly what I wanted, I ran an algorithm with certain criteria to help me pick areas and apartment buildings that met my needs and I really haven’t been disappointed. The décor and furniture in the flat are my style exactly and it’s great having a view out over the communal garden. I’m a big fan of having an onsite gym and the Duet App is really helpful. 

“The easy access routes into the city, as well as being on the doorstep of MediaCityUK, make Manchester a great city to call home at last. With everything I need for my work at Duet, like communal working spaces, high speed WiFi and bookable conference rooms, it just makes living and working so much easier and I wonder why I spent so many years putting up with the cramped living spaces of London apartments.”

BTR apartment buildings, like Duet, are designed for renters who have busy working lives but also want to enjoy where they live. With community events, an onsite gym and garden, green living initiatives and pet friendly apartments, Duet is designed to meet the needs of its residents.

Dougie Orton-Wade, General Manager at Duet Salford Quays, commented: “Manchester is an amazing city, with so much to do and see – it really is the heart of the North – and we’re so proud at Duet to be located here. Seeing the rise in website traffic from people living in London just goes to show that Manchester has a lot to offer, not just to locals, but for those currently living in other parts of the UK too.

“With excellent transport links to London, just over two hours on the train, the rise in remote working is letting people live excellent and affordable lifestyles while still venturing to and from the capital with ease when needed.”

Duet is a new More. Build to Rent development of 270 premium apartments located in MediaCityUK. At 15 storeys tall, it is the latest addition to the city’s skyline. It was delivered by Moorfield Group on behalf of funds under management, working with developer Glenbrook Property, and is professionally managed by specialist rental operator, Allsop.

Duet is the most recent More. BTR scheme delivered by Moorfield, following The Trilogy on Ellesmere Street, which opened in April 2019 and is now fully occupied and The Forge in Newcastle, which opened in September 2018.

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