The continuous hike in the price of renting or buying a property in London is driving some Africans into the north of England. Muritala Bakare finds out how they are settling down. 

It’s 02:45 in the morning and Kalilu Tourè and few other travellers at the Shudehill Interchange are preparing to board their Megabus journey to London. Some have slept there overnight, and some just arriving by taxi to make the nearly six-hour road trip back to London for work. 

 Tourè, 32, originally from Senegal had recently moved to Manchester with his family but retains his job in London. The increase in house prices meant Tourè cannot afford to live in London with his family, and the best alternative was to move to Manchester. 

“House prices in Manchester is unbelievably cheaper compare to London. For me, moving here was a no-brainer. I was paying an extortionate amount for rent in London. All I earned went into paying rent and transportation and I had no savings at all. 

“My wife was doing a part-time work and yet, with my own wages, we were struggling to maintain the family,” said  Tourè. 

The majority of those travelling on the early hours journey to London had a similar story as Tourè. The cost of living in London is a major factor, especially the increase in rent of private properties. 

Femi Adelana, 40, from Nigeria who had lived in London for 15 years before finally quitting the city, said it was difficult for him to afford a home in London and the only place to do that was Manchester. 

“I couldn’t buy a property, and private landlords charge an enormous amount for rent in London, plus you have to pay all these other ridiculous fees. I couldn’t afford it anymore and was looking for other places to relocate to. My friend introduced me to Manchester and since then, I never looked back. 

“Rent is unbelievable cheaper in Manchester. I was paying £1300 for a three bedroom flat in London, and I am paying just half of it in Manchester. This is a massive saving for me and my family,” Femi explains delightfully.

Femi and many other Africans who chose to move to Manchester said they still retain their jobs in London because of the ‘good wages’ and are happy to make the journey back and forth every weekend. 

“Rail tickets are expensive and travelling on the train every day would defeat the purpose of saving and having a better life for me and my family. So, the best option for me is to travel by coach. 

“I stayed with family and friends in London so I don’t have to return every day. I return only on weekends and sometimes, weekdays. 

“I don’t mind the six-hour journey. Yes, it’s not comfortable but it is just temporary until I get a new job in Manchester. 

“Moreover, it is just twice a week journey, so It’s not that bad,” he said. 

According to Femi, there are even more people he knows who are willing to relocate to Manchester from London. 

“The good thing about Manchester,” he said, “is the sheer calm and peace that greets you when you arrive. People are more relax here and they are very friendly. You feel at home immediately and I like it,” he said. 

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