Compare My Move’s data shows there was a surge in the number of moves from England to Wales in 2021, increasing by 48% compared to 2020.

We took a sample of 100,000 Compare My Move removals and found England to Wales moves increased significantly post-pandemic compared to pre-covid times. Our data shows that this trend peaked in 2021 with more people than ever before seeking a new life across the border.

Migration from England to Wales has steadily grown since 2012 but 2021 is predicted to be the biggest increase this millennia. From the Stamp Duty holiday to a more attractive housing market in Wales, we explore the possible reasons for the surge of moves from England to Wales.

Headline figures at a glance:

  • Moves from England to Wales up by 48% in 2021
  • People moving for a “better lifestyle
  • Wales’ house prices 42% cheaper than England year on year
  • Moves from England to rest of the UK up by 70%


The Stamp Duty Effect 

June 2021 saw the most property sales in England and Wales for the year, hitting almost 200,000 sales. This coincided with the Stamp Duty holiday that was extended on the 1st of July to the 30th of September.

2021 saw 1.3 million property sales in England and Wales, making it the highest year since ONS records for sales as well as the biggest increase in net migration from England to Wales. Our study shows that moves out of England are nearly double the number of moves into England from the rest of the UK.



Pre vs post-pandemic moves

UK moving trends drastically changed in the year 2020 when Covid-19 hit. The pandemic changed many people’s priorities as well as what they’re looking for in a property. Moves from England to Wales increased by only 17% in 2020 compared to 2019.  Post-pandemic and moves to Wales increased by 48%.

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While 2020 saw a dip in removals requests as people adjusted to the restrictions the pandemic brought, the market surged back in 2021 with additional help from Stamp Duty holidays that spurred sales in England.


People moving for a better lifestyle


We surveyed our users who moved from England to Wales to learn the reasons behind their move. We can reveal that 47% moved for a better lifestyle, noting a “slower pace of life” attracted them. A further 42% said they moved to Wales to be closer to family.

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Rhys Williams told us a “better lifestyle, friendlier environment and better work opportunities” is what attracted him to Wales. Additionally, Brenda Bardwell told us she moved to Wales due to the “slow way of life” and “beautiful walks.”

One respondent cancelled his plans to move to Wales based on the Welsh Government’s aim to introduce a visitor tax. “(visitors tax) would have to be paid if any friends or relatives decided to visit” said Lewis Jones.

Better lifestyle, friendlier environment and better work opportunities. Myself and my partner previously lived in Sydney and enjoyed the lifestyle more than anything, we found that despite the weather, Cardiff offered us a very similar lifestyle with outdoor sports and beaches close to a city centre. No other location offered us this.” – Rhys Williams

“We’ve always loved North Wales and we wanted to be near the sea and just wanted to be out of London…We travel around, we love walking. We did Hadrian’s Wall Walk, which is 84 miles and the Isle of Wight which is 75 miles. So we do lots of things like that and up here, it’s really nice for that sort of thing.” – Timothy Read


Did house prices play a role?

The attractive housing market in Wales is another reason our movers relocated over the border. Over 15% of people surveyed told us they moved to Wales for a lower cost of living.


With house prices in England increasing by almost 10% from December 2020 to December 2021, a move to Wales doesn’t come as a surprise. The average house price in Wales in December 2021 came in at 42% cheaper than in England.

UK House Prices 2016-2022

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Rod Morris told Compare My Move that he moved to Wales to purchase a bigger house for a lower price than it would cost him in England. Alternatively, one mover told us he felt that Welsh people think “English movers are pushing up local prices”. HM Land Registry figures show that the Welsh-English house price gap has closed slightly over the years.

House prices in Scotland increased the most in 2021, rising by 19% to £233,498. Scotland also saw the largest amount of moves to Wales, with 83% of movers relocating.


Compare My Move Co-founder Dave Sayce said: “Our latest research shows the effect the Stamp Duty holiday combined with a better lifestyle had on removals in 2021. Many people told us that they made the big move to benefit from a better lifestyle and take advantage of the many beautiful beaches and walks Wales has to offer. It can be argued that our must-haves when moving house have changed post-pandemic.”