London leavers: why this couple swapped a Twickenham rental for a five-bedroom townhouse on the Isle of Man

·3-min read
 (Joshua Phillips)
(Joshua Phillips)

Getting out of London was always on the agenda for Emily and Joshua Phillips, they just didn’t expect it to happen while they were still in their 20s. Nonetheless, at the start of this year the couple packed their bags and said goodbye to London.

They now live on the Isle of Man, the windswept beauty set in the Irish Sea between the North-West and Northern Ireland.

The couple had been renting a two-bedroom house in Twickenham, paying £1,695. They were keen to get on to the property ladder but their budget would only stretch to a very, very petite house in London. On the Isle of Man they are in the process of buying a five-bedroom Edwardian townhouse in the capital, Douglas, for less than £600,000.

Both Emily and Joshua have family on the island, which has made the move less of a leap into the dark — Emily was born and brought up there, while Joshua’s parents moved there when he was a teenager.

“It was always our intention to move back eventually,” said Emily, 26. “Lockdown just gave us time to think, and we ended up deciding to do something we might have done when we were in our 40s while we are still in our 20s.”

With the decision made, they both began job hunting. Joshua, 28, quickly found a role as a project manager for the Isle of Man government while Emily, an accountant, also found a new job with surprising ease.

To help them with the red tape involved in the move, they enlisted the help of relocation specialists Locate Isle of Man ( Their first two weeks on the island were spent in self-isolation. They are now living in a rented apartment while waiting for the sale of their house to go through and they hope to be in by mid-summer.

“Originally we wanted to live in the country but then we realised that the Isle of Man is really so small that you are only ever five minutes away from the countryside,” said Emily. “Where we are is within walking distance of the office, bars and restaurants, but in 10 minutes you are in the mountains or by the sea. It meant we haven’t had to give up on convenience.”

Sweetening the deal is the Isle of Man’s low taxes: the maximum rate of income tax is 20 per cent. Its government, keen to attract incomers, also offers incentives such as National Insurance rebates to relocators. A side effect of this is that the island is home to many international companies, which means that Emily and Joshua can continue to develop their careers.

In their spare time there is loads to do, from walking and cycling to golfing, as well as checking out the island’s nightlife. When travel gets back to normal they can fly to London in less than an hour to catch up with friends.

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