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How to make all your financial worries disappear in one simple move

Sell your overpriced London property, buy a country house and pocket the difference.

I'm rather longingly reading through Knight Frank's London vs Country brochure for this spring. It makes the point that we have been trying to make for the last year or so that the gap between country house prices and London house prices has almost never been wider. So if you are going to move you are unlikely to find a better time to make the trade.

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Some numbers. Average prices for good homes in London are up 24% on their pre-crisis peak. Those in the country are still down on average some 20%. Since 2009, things are even more stark the average prime central London price is up 57%, but prices elsewhere have barely budged.

Knight Frank has rather brilliantly illustrated this by looking at what might have happened to the price of a £1m house in London, and then at what might have happened to those in various parts of the country.

A £1m house in London in 2009 should now be worth £1.57m. But a £1m house in the north east will now be worth only £909,000. That's a difference of £661,000. So you can sell what was a million pound house and buy what was a million pound house but still have £600,000 in the bank enough to fill most pensions and pay most families school fees.

You can do the same sum in most places (Herefordshire offers particularly good relative value) and get a similar answer, with the gap only really narrowing in the south east, where the difference in today's values falls to a mere £425,500.

Not everyone can leave London and if both members of a couple have to commute in, the higher transport costs can fast outweigh the lower property costs. But if you can, and want to, the numbers are surely telling you now is a good time. More on this from my colleague Matthew here.

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