Karen Noye, of the wealth management firm Quilter, said: “Now, as our lives get back on track and the fear of further restrictions is over, naturally people want to be back in the capital, enjoying all it has to offer, including, crucially, more job prospects.”
Buyers are also flocking back, or cancelling plans to move to the countryside, as employers call time on the work from home revolution and order their staff to come back to the office.
Rhys Cash, 45, from Chiswick, spent more than a year searching for a place to buy in the countryside along the M4 corridor after he and his wife decided they wanted a place with more space. But when his employer announced that it would move to a policy of three days a week in the office at the start of this year, the couple decided to stay put and bought a bigger house in Chiswick instead.
“Partly, we realised how spoilt we were in Chiswick,” said Mr Cash. “We’re within walking distance of a million shops and restaurants, and my office is right around the corner.”
Chiswick is one of the most popular destinations for buyers returning to the capital, according to Christopher Bramwell of the estate agents Savills.
“Ealing is also proving very popular on the back of the new Elizabeth line opening up,” he said. Prices in west London, which had flattened during the pandemic, were now trending upwards as the city “comes back to life”, he added.
Many businesses have already asked their employees to come back to the office after more than two years of remote work. Professionals in financial services, media and advertising were among those Mr Bramwell had seen moving back in order to be closer to the office.
Estate agents said they expected to see a rise in sales inquiries over the next few months from these buyers. But interest from boomerang buyers is not the only factor driving the recovery in London’s property market.
An acute dearth of property for sale is one of the biggest reasons for the surge in prices. Mark Harris of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said: “General lack of supply is continuing to drive increases in prices in London, combined with the weak pound, which is stimulating international investment.”