Driving talent to the South: a review of Knight Frank’s ‘M25 Report’

According to Knight Frank’s M25 Report, key urban regeneration and infrastructure developments continue to be a trigger for driving talent out of London and across the wider South East of England. In the report, published earlier this year, Ealing, Maidenhead, Reading, Croydon and Cambridge were just some of the zones namechecked as most likely to benefit from the regional investment.

In Ealing, Maidenhead and Reading, the completion of the Elizabeth Line is set to enhance the office market – a positive catalyst for speculative new developments and increased commercial rents.

To the south of London, existing rail links and a burgeoning entertainment scene are making Croydon a desirable alternative to more central London living. Shoreditch’s famous Boxpark has announced it will be opening a franchise in Croydon, while HMRC confirmed one of its consolidated regional hubs will also be relocated here in the near future. Croydon is already attracting younger talent pushed out of London by high residential rents, and Knight Frank predicts that this trend is only set to continue.

With continued R&D investment from the pharmaceutical and motorsport industries pouring into Cambridge, this epicentre of knowledge is beginning to compete with London for young graduate talent that would, historically, choose to move away from the city post-university. Cambridge is aiming to position itself as the UK’s next Silicon Valley, with AstraZeneca and Amazon both locating their new research facilities to the city and a new tech incubator space set to open this summer.

With 900,000 businesses already operating in these key areas – generating around £249bn per year for the economy – Knight Frank suggests it won’t be long before they begin to rival the capital on jobs, rents and quality of life.