The self-taught artist, who is originally from Fife, said tonight that he was not a racist, but one reason for the move was the amount of "Arab and Russian" people buying up property in the area where he lives, Knightsbridge, which had in his view changed the atmosphere of his neighbourhood.
He revealed his move during a candid and outspoken event at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum last night, held in support of Maggie's Cancer Care.
Vettriano, whose retrospective at the museum looks likely to attract around 100,000 visitors, said he had grown tired of living in London.
His new home and studio is in central Edinburgh, where he lived for many years in the 1990s.
Speaking in front of a sizeable audience at the museum, Vettriano said living in London had, in his view, become exhausting and expensive and he was glad to be back in Scotland, where he will be permanently based, from early next month.
In a wide ranging In Conversation event, Vettriano explained his artistic pre-occupation with sex and erotically charged scenes, his rise to success and personal low moments.
He also criticised the National Galleries of Scotland for not permanently displaying his self portrait The Weight, which it did temporarily.
Vettriano said the self portrait was among his best works. He said he would continue to paint in the south of France and was shortly to begin a project with Ennio Morricone, the lauded film composer, who is a fan of the painter. Morricone will compose music scores to accompany paintings by Vettriano
He talked of being rejected from the Edinburgh College of Art, and how he felt glad, in retrospect, that he had failed to attend the college.
"They would have made me paint abstract paintings and I don't want to do that," he said.