The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK property market has been highly published and discussed as many are shocked by the pent-up demand taking the end of 2020 by storm. Experts also discussed the trend of city dwellers seeking a more rural lifestyle due to city life stresses and opportunities to work from home. However, what has not been reported publicly is rural residents’ desire to move from their homes.
New data released from Aviva has revealed that the UK property market landscape is more complicated than we initially thought. According to a recent survey of 6,000 people, those living in a rural or semi-rural location are more likely to desire a move to different surroundings than those in urban areas. The survey showed that more than half of UK adults living in rural areas wanted a change of scenery, compared to only 39% of those living in urban or semi-urban areas.
So why do rural residents desire to move, especially during a pandemic?
For most of these surveyed, it is their want for more facilities which motivates their need to move. Nearly one-third of people in a rural dwelling wish to move to a semi-rural setting, while 30% of people in semi-rural homes want to move to an urban location. 23% of people surveyed believe that an urban lifestyle will bring a better social life, while 22% see a move close to the city as beneficial for improved facilities and transport links.
What about the people who want to leave the city for a rural lifestyle?
Around 15% of people surveyed want to move because they can work from home and no longer need to commute to work. A similar number said that the move would help reduce the possibility of infections such as COVID-19. Other factors contributing to many people’s desire to move to the countryside include their belief it will provide a better quality of life for their family and children, with health benefits due to lower pollution in rural and semi-rural areas. And with the demand for pets soaring in lockdown, one in ten residents report that their home needs are influenced by their current or plans for a pet.
Commenting on their discoveries, Gareth Hemming, MD for Personal Lines, Aviva says: “Our research shows a disparity between what we might expect to see and the world as it actually is. As more people and businesses have adapted to home-working, this might suggest that people may want to move out of city locations. But the full picture is much more complicated, and many people are hoping to move around for a wide variety of reasons, with some planning to move into more urban spaces.”
Property investors must take into consideration the types of buyers this wish to target. This can heavily influence the properties in their portfolios, as Aviva’s research suggests families are seeking a rural lifestyle while a city-dwelling is still preferable for young professionals.
Ensuring an understanding of the location of properties and the influence this has on buyers is essential for securing a sale which satisfies investors. As we still navigate a world with COVID-19, we can never be risky with business. We have to be sure that the investments we make are founded on experience and the facts of the UK property market’s current climate. Investors can take advantage of the boom in property sales without risking too much of their money by choosing to invest in the property sought out by different buyers’ demographics.