Professionals prefer London

30 Nov Professionals prefer London

The Irish are continuing to relocate to London to further their careers, while others travel midweek, returning home at the weekend.


With Ireland’s economy among the worst hit in the eurozone following the property crash and soaring unemployment, many Irish nationals were left with little alternative but to seek work overseas. Although the recession began in 2008, Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show that by 2012 almost 1,000 Irish were leaving Ireland each week in order to find work abroad. While many set off for English speaking countries further afield such as Australia, Canada and the US, the majority – around a quarter of the exodus – set up in Britain. London has been the primary focus due to its close proximity to home and stronger economic recovery compared to that of other major European cities.

Now, after years of austerity, the pace of Ireland’s economic recovery is finally also picking up, prompting the government to recently upgrade its growth forecasts, suggesting that a boom may be back. Although there are signs of recovery, particularly with increased activity in the capital’s property market, the impact of the crash has changed local attitudes about prospects beyond Irish shores. In many cases this is down to significantly more favourable salaries, the opportunity to experience life in one of the world’s leading international cities and the short distance from friends and family. The latest CSO annual migration figures show that although Irish emigration fell by 20 per cent last year, it still remained high at 40,700, with many recognising genuine opportunities and benefits of working in a major capital like London. An added advantage for many is the fact that salaries are earned in sterling, a stable currency that has strengthened against most major foreign currencies in the past year. It is currently at a two-year high against the euro, meaning your money stretches further back in Ireland.

Research undertaken by University College Cork into the experiences of Irish commuter migrants traveling to Britain indicates that most are well-paid professionals working in industries including finance, media, engineering, law and medicine with many earning in excess of €125,000 per year. The rise of low-cost airlines in recent years has also altered commuter patterns, with cheap and frequent short haul flights enabling regular travel between Ireland and Britain without breaking the bank. What’s more, there has also been a surge in the number of Irish now commuting to London midweek, returning home at the weekend and subsequently enjoying the best of both worlds. The Dublin-London route is one of the busiest city-tocity routes in the world, with almost four million passengers travelling between the capitals last year, up 6 per cent on 2012. In the last six months, 15 additional daily flights have been launched from London City Airport alone, with British Airways starting a new direct five-a-day flight schedule from Dublin last month. That highlights the ever-growing demand for strong business relations, enhanced international connections and transactions for both nations. It is important to note that experiencing life in a leading international city such as London can come with a leading price tag.

New global research by Savills reveals that London is now the world’s most expensive city in which to live and work due to a surge in property prices, a stronger currency, increased costs of renting and other related property costs such as council tax. Depending on the London borough and valuation band your property falls under, the council tax bill can vary anywhere from about £800 to £2,000 per year. For example, the City of Westminster, located in Zone 1, is home to some of the capital’s most desirable properties. Despite this it is actually the cheapest local authority for council tax. Some of the dearest are situated in Zone 3 and further out. Central London rents can start anywhere from £450 per week for a studio or onebed apartment to in excess of £1,000 per week depending on how central the location and how high the specification. Rents, quoted on a per week basis, are exclusive of utilities (gas, electricity, water), council tax, satellite and broadband, all of which are payable by the tenant. In order to get the administration ball rolling, call upon your professional references and open a British bank account as soon as possible. Other considerations include the six-to-eight week security deposit payable at the start of your lease.

All things considered, working and living in London is still an attractive option for many and, as with a move to any new city, the practicality of setting up a new home and life abroad is often overwhelming. When seeking a home in an area that suits your needs, the key is connecting with the right property professionals who have a strong local knowledge and a reliable network of agents to help sidestep those hurdles and potential costly pitfalls. If you do find yourself considering a move to London, Inhous is an independent property consultancy that can help manage your move. Based in central London, Inhous is run by Irish property professionals who have specialised in the London property market for several years. Sourcing rental properties for individuals relocating to London is one of Inhous’s key service lines. The firm can help take the hassle out of your move and facilitiates both corporate and private relocation. Inhous is an independent property consultancy firm.

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Valerie NestorDirector at Inhous in London.