Research carried by property search website Rightmove has found that city residents contacting estate agents to buy a home in a village rose by 126% in June & July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, outperforming a 68% uplift from people in cities enquiring to towns
Rightmove established that this shift in more buyers looking to move outside cities began in April 2020 and is continuing, with the uplift in village enquiries most notable among people living in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London
Further to this whilst in some locations there are still more people looking to move within the city than outside of it, the majority of the proportion looking to stay in the city has dropped. This has most notably been seen in London, where in 2019 45% of Londoners were looking to move outside of London, but at the same point in 2020 this has risen to 54%.
Village Foundations comment:
There are many implications of this these findings and only time will tell if this is a longer term trend, or simply a coronavirus related spike. In the short term this increase in demand may cause further house price increases that push already disproportionately expensive rural houses out of reach for local residents. However, it may well also provide the much needed boost that rural services need to survive and therefore ensure their sustainability into the future, especially in light of the current challenges they face.
However, the most positive outcome of this will hopefully be that it encourages planners to readdress how rural areas should be viewed in terms of their ability to absorb careful and limited development, and that through continually looking to limit development they have contributed to the decline of rural areas. If there is a demand for people to live in these areas then this should be taken advantage of to ensure that sympathetic, sustainable housing in rural areas can be provided in a way that does not cause damage to the environment or communities. When this is coupled with the increasing trend of working from home and the governments commitment to providing robust broadband to all rural communities there is an opportunity to strengthen existing communities, and even build new ones. All of this can be achieved without the overdevelopment of the countryside if a much longer term, joined up thinking approach is taken.