London Beats Its Own Record


My economics education of old taught me the basics of demand versus supply and its impact on prices. Those looking for confidence that London’s residential market isn’t about to plummet off a cliff will be comforted by the fact that London’s population is forecast to continue to grow at around 100,000 people per annum and is about to beat its own population record.

What may be a surprise is that it’s taken more than 75 years for that record to be broken. London’s population peaked in 1939 at 8.6 million, but World War II put at end to that, with children evacuated from the city and men leaving to join the war effort. Such decline continued post war with the Government encouraging Londoners to move to the new towns that were growing outside London, with a low in the early 1980s of just 6.6 million.

Stagnating through the 1980s and much of the 1990s, the last 15 years have witnessed most of the 2 million population growth with London living firmly back in fashion and extensive rejuvenation in previously undervalued areas providing the new housing. The huge regeneration in and around Battersea Power Station being a great example of this continuing.

With London’s population now pushing back though 8.6 million, the strongest population growth has been within the 20 boroughs of Outer London, stretching almost as far as the orbital M25 motorway. Affordability remains key.

With forecasts showing the population likely to hit 10 million by 2030 and with continued tight planning conditions restricting supply, the economic fundamentals remain sound.

My former teachers should be pleased that I was paying attention!

Author Philip Churchill