Countrywide says a record 64,672 tenants left London over the last 12 months with an unusually-high proportion going on to rent elsewhere.
Some 78 per cent, or 50,406, left to rent another home outside the capital with the remaining 22 per cent or 14,266 leaving to buy a home.
Countrywide says this a significant shift from a decade ago when the majority of tenants moving out of the capital did so to buy.
Tenants leaving London to rent in the past year on average moved twice the distance as those leaving to buy, 101 miles compared to 53.
This is reflected in the growing proportion heading to the Midlands or the North. This year 48 per cent of tenants leaving London to rent somewhere else headed north compared to 31 per cent in 2007.
The average London tenant buying a home outside the capital spends an average £388,000 on a new home, some 16 per cent less than someone who was selling a property in London. Tenants coming from London spend an average of nine per cent more than those who already live locally.
“For people in their 30s leaving London is something of a rite of passage. But as the number of those renting has grown the move out of London is increasingly likely to be in the rental market” says Countrywide research director Johnny Morris.
Meanwhile Countrywide says rents across the country as a whole rose 1.1 per cent over the last 12 months to stand at £978 a month.
Over the last 12 months rents grew faster in southern regions than those in the north.
However, more homes coming on to the rental market in Northern England has slowed rental growth there. In September there were 12 per cent more rental properties on the market across the three regions of Northern England (North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humber).
“Rental price growth continues to be supported by the low number of landlord purchases, particularly across the south of England. The number of rental homes on the market has continued to drop with more southern based landlords looking northwards in search of better yields and lower stamp duty bills. Conversely northern England has seen double digit increases in the number of homes on the market which is likely to temper rental growth” says Morris.