I’m not the only one plotting an escape from the British Isles. Priced out of buying and rents spiralling nationwide – the average rental price in London is an eye-watering £1,238, according to letting agents Your Move and Reed Rains – an exodus of young women are moving abroad, according to Ben Tyrrell, head of international moving site MoveHub. “The UK's continuously soaring property prices and general high cost of living are making staying in the UK less appealing and instead of putting up with it, it seems these young professional women are just seeking new opportunities elsewhere."
Katie McCrory, 32, head of communications for a global sustainability think tank, had been living in London for ten years when she decided to leave the city for Copenhagen with her husband. McCrory says the stifling cost of their two-bedroom flat in north London forced the pair to leave last July.
Instead, they packed their bags and moved to Copenhagen, where the couple rent a two-bedroom apartment that’s 50% bigger and a third cheaper than their old flat in London. McCrory enthuses about her new life. “I now have a full-time job, in a sector I’m hugely passionate about, I take free Danish lessons every week and I cycle the five minutes it takes me to get to work every day in protected cycle lanes.”
Elle swapped her six-bedroom houseshare in Oxfordshire, for a one-bedroom apartment with mountain vistas in Zagreb, Croatia for half the price she was forking out in the UK
All of the women I interviewed spoke of the improved work-life balance gained from living abroad. “As a creative person, to live in a city with a much lower cost of living has great benefits,” says graphic designer Lauren Kelly, 27, who last year moved into a two-bedroom flat in Berlin with her boyfriend. It costs less than the £800 a month they splashed out for a room in a warehouse in Hackney Wick, which they shared with 12 people. “The ability to work less, enjoy life more, and indulge in more personal work like my blog is fantastic. In London, it felt like you were working all the hours to pay the man, but in Berlin the onus is on quality of life and enjoyment.”
Initially living in London before temporarily moving to Lincoln, Karli Drinkwater, 31, a journalist and producer, left for South East Asia last August after breaking up with her fiancé. “Becoming a single person again made me wonder what quality of life I would have now that I’d be finding a new place to live [on my own]. When I did the maths, I worked out that I’d be back to barely being able to make ends meet and I couldn’t face that again.” After qualifying as a scuba diving instructor in Bali, she’s now relocating to Koh Samui in Thailand.
Those looking to move abroad should get their finances in order before they leave
Those looking to move abroad should get their finances in order before they leave, advises Richard Musty, expatriate banking director at Lloyds Banking Group. “It’s likely you will be liable for tax in the location you are moving to and will need to consider income you may be due to receive from the UK if you are renting out your property or have other sources of income in the UK.” He also suggests opening a bank account in your new country of residence in order to pay local bills and for receiving any wages.
However, moving abroad is helping Kelly and her boyfriend achieve their long-term goal of getting on the property ladder. “We are now saving for a house deposit," she enthuses. "And that's something that we would never have considered, or managed, while still living in London."