The much talked about city to countryside exodus triggered by the pandemic has been largely led by older renters according to a new survey.
The proportion of respondents aged between 60 and 75 now living in rural areas increased by 9% to 39% research by The Deposit Protection Service of some 1,300 tenants who moved during the six months up to January 2021 suggests.
The proportion of tenants aged 60 to 75 living in towns areas has decreased by 7% to 38%, while just 3% of those in that age bracket live in city centres.
Media reports of young people – who have been hardest hit financially by the pandemic – fleeing the city, prove to be somewhat over-hyped. According to this survey, the proportion of 18 to 35 year olds saying they were now renting property in towns increased by 5% to 50%.
Meanwhile, the number of 18 to 22 year olds living in rural areas fell, from 13% to 6%, the sharpest of any group in the survey.
Overall, 29% of those surveyed said the pandemic prompted their move; among 18 to 35 year olds this rose to more than one in three.
Four in 10 respondents said it was more difficult to find a suitable property as a result of the pandemic, with 35 to 60 year olds most likely to have had difficulties.
The type of property tenants are looking for has also changed, with the percentage of tenants living in flats falling from 29 to 25%.
On average just under half of all respondents moved five miles or less, with only 8% moving over 20 miles.
“The lifting of government restrictions on house moves following the first 2020 lockdown led to significant shifts across renting demographics as respondents reassessed their needs during the second half of the year” according to The DPS managing director Matt Trevett.
“There seems to be a much stronger demand among younger tenants for properties in towns rather than cities and rural locations, which we believe was partly provoked by more widespread working-from-home policies.
“On top of this, older respondents seem to be increasingly interested in rural locations, perhaps as a result of lockdown restrictions causing greater disruption to urban life, including the temporary or permanent closure of many services and venues.”