13th July 2021

Revealed: The London Boroughs that changed the MOST during COVID-19

new report by Dojo reveals which London boroughs have seen the biggest movement, growth and decline during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

With a high number of businesses embracing home-working and reducing the number of days required in the office post-pandemic, many city workers are willing to move out of London to live further away from their place of work and relocate to neighbouring towns. 

New research by card payment provider, Dojo, has analysed London boroughs to reveal which have prospered the most from January 2020 to March 2021. To investigate this, Dojo gathered data on the following 5 economic and social indicators of each location:

  • Property market 🏠  - The change in property prices and number of sales in the area

  • Job vacancies 💼 - The number of job openings in the area

  • Salaries 💷 - The average wage of employees

  • Footfall 👣 - The transit station, workplace and residential movement detected on Google Maps

Each data point was then scored and compared to the previous year to discover the total percentage increase in growth for London boroughs.  

RANKED: The London boroughs with the biggest GROWTH during the pandemic

Some borough's economies and property markets fared better than others during the pandemic - with Havering leading the way.

Ranking Name Population

      Total % Change         (Property, Job and Footfall data combined)

1 Havering 259,552 4.74%
2 Worthing 110,570 4.62%
3 Lambeth 326,034 -15.01%
4 Kingston upon Thames 177,507 -17.51%
5 Bromley 332,336 -20.59%
6 Croydon 386,710 -21.54%
7 Camden 270,029 -22.34%
8 Richmond upon Thames 198,019 -22.62%
9 Barnet 395,869 -22.80%
10 Enfield 333,794 -25.92%
11 Hounslow 271,523 -26.18%
12 Redbridge 305,222 -26.19%
13 Greenwich 287,942 -29.14%
14 Wandsworth 329,677 -29.19%
15 Hammersmith and Fulham 185,143 -30.27%
16 Bexley 248,287 -30.32%
17 Southwark 318,830 -30.34%
18 Lewisham 305,842 -31.19%
19 Barking and Dagenham 212,906 -31.49%
20 Newham 353,134 -33.32%
21 Islington 242,467 -34.87%
22 Ealing 341,806 -35.07%
23 Merton 206,548 -35.22%
24 Waltham Forest 276,983 -39.09%
25 Hillingdon 306,870 -39.81%
26 Kensington and Chelsea 156,129 -42.65%
27 Sutton 206,349 -42.99%
28 Westminster 261,317 -44.35%
29 Hackney 281,120 -45.66%
Havering and Worthing were the ONLY boroughs that witnessed a positive growth
London’s outer boroughs can often provide more affordable housing than the central regions of the city, something that definitely helped Havering secure lockdown growth. Even though the average house price increased from the previous year by 7.40% to £387,743, it’s drastically cheaper than London’s average of £501,000. This helped contribute to its overall growth of 4.74% during the pandemic - which was the highest out of all the boroughs. 
Worthing was the only other borough that recorded positive growth during the pandemic at 4.62%. The average property price increase by 8.96% from £277,591.25 in 2020 to £302,476.70 in 2021. Property sales also increased by 24.29% since 2020. The property market wasn't the only growth in the borough. Job vacancies increased by 58.88% despite the pandemic, and the average salary increased by 11.09%. 
The London borough of Hackney, however, didn’t see growth like some of the other places on our list. The trendy East London area saw a 45.66% decrease which was the largest decline recorded. The borough was hit hard by a large decrease in footfall – perhaps as it's an area known for its great nightlight, bars, and hospitality scene. Property sales also took a hit in Hackney, decreasing by -40.80% compared to the previous year.
Just behind Hackney on the leaderboard is Westminster - the political centre of the country, seeing a 44.35% decrease in growth. Property prices actually dipped from £1,008,593 to £956,658 from January 2020 to January 2021. And property sales also dropped by -34.57%, from 188 to 123.
London commuter towns boomed during the pandemic - with Exeter witnessing the biggest growth




Total % Change  (Property, Job and Footfall data combined)






























Milton Keynes











Out of all the commuter locations, Exeter grew the most during the pandemic, by 17.94%. The region has seen a substantial influx of Londoners deciding to commute from Devon. House prices rose from £263,141 to £278,158 between January 2020 and January 2021. Residential sales also increased from 130 in the month of January 2020 to 140 in November 2020. Job prospects in the region also boomed, going from 1,245 vacancies pre-pandemic to 3,278, with a healthy average salary of £36,199.  

Eastbourne came in 2nd on the commuter town list, growing by 15.88% from 2020-2021. The town is an 86 minute train journey from central London and enjoys affordable housing and a tranquil seaside location.

Worthing saw a 4.26% growth throughout 2020, making it the third most successful commuter town in the report. The town saw a comfortable increase in its average salary from £32,274 to £35,852 and property sales increased from 140 from January 2020 to 174 in November 2020.


Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insights at Dojo commented: 

“During the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the interest in commuter towns has seen a substantial increase. 

“With working from home here to stay and less time needing to be spent in the office, many city dwellers have decided to relocate from built up urban areas. Despite a longer commute time when venturing into the office, the benefits of generally cheaper and more spacious properties in commuter towns has attracted many to these areas. 

“Despite fluctuations and instability, the coronavirus pandemic has brought growth to new businesses and has helped consumers appreciate the value of independent businesses. With more people now choosing commuter towns as their place of work and leisure, small businesses in the area will enjoy an uptick in footfall.

“Now lockdown is easing, businesses could be set to boom from customers determined to make the most of rediscovered freedoms.”


To see the full report please visit the campaign page here.

You can download the high-re graphic from this dropbox folder here.

I hope this is of interest. Please let me know if you need anything else from me!


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