Regional sales director at Miller Homes, Aisling Ramshaw.
Matthew Neville

Northshoring and the housing market: Catering for the Southern surge

Northshoring refers to the practice of companies moving all, or some of their departments out of London to a Northern location with a lower cost base.

With the likes of Amazon, Just Eat, Ocado and HM Treasury all recognising the various benefits of shifting their operations to the North East, a new cluster of “home hotspots” have sprung up.

One sector which has kept a close watch over this recent trend has been that of property. In particular, Miller Homes has provided insight into the shifting landscape of Northern housing in the wake of the Northshoring phenomenon.

Regional sales director at Miller Homes, Aisling Ramshaw said: “People typically want to live within 30 minutes of their day job if they are workplace-based, or close to arterial routes for those with a more work-from-home or hybrid work pattern.

“We keep a close eye on these market movements, and we have noticed two clear trends in the last year that affect both where we build, but also the types of homes and communities we are designing with this new employment market in mind.

“The first trend is people no longer need to work in big cities like London, with hybrid and homeworking they can be based – at least for some of the week – anywhere they wish.”

Consequently, there has been an increased demand for larger coastal and countryside homes with gardens and home office space. According to Rightmove 28 per cent of homeowners are planning to move to the coast or countryside in the next 12 months.

Aisling continued: “People want to enjoy a lifestyle that is much more about getting outdoors and enjoying the beautiful countryside or unspoilt beaches we have here in the region. These developments also need to be located for connectivity to urban centres for ease of commute into the office HQ if they need to.”

Miller Homes has built a bespoke rural development at Lambton Estate in County Durham, 15 minutes from the East Coast mainline to London. Aisling said: “We have seen a rising demand for this development from discerning buyers in the South.

“They can live in a beautifully-designed spacious home with leafy walks around the rolling 1000-acre Lambton estate and a community hub that will house lovely independent cafes and shops – all for the price of a one-bedroom flat in a decent part of London.

“Almost 13 per cent of our sales to date at Lambton Park are those who have moved from within a 15 miles radius of central London.”

The average value of a flat in London is currently £524,878, which is more than double the price of Lambton Park’s two-bedroom Hazelnut Apartment at £245,950. Semi-detached properties in London stand at an average value of £784,259, versus a five-bedroom townhouse at Lambton Park at £589,950.

Since the pandemic we have all reassessed what we want from our homes and now that people can still work for a large firm in the capital right from their home office, their salaries are going a lot further on a home that fits around their family, their job and their new lifestyle.

An additional, secondary trend accompanying Northshoring is that of new communities centred around large new employers like Just Eat or Amazon employing thousands of local people that seek to live in locations nearby their new jobs.

Of this trend, Aisling concludes: “We are always looking at where these honeypot employers may be investing in our region and looking at nearby land that can create communities of employees.

“A year ago, we would not have looked at some of these sites but since the news announcements of big employers moving up, we are rethinking where people will want to live and adjusting our land buying strategy all the time.”

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