A Deposit Protection Service (DPS) survey of tenants who moved during the pandemic has indicated that older people have become more likely to move to the countryside whilst younger people are more often choosing to live in towns.
Of the 1,300-plus tenants who said they moved during the six months up to January 2021, the proportion of respondents aged between 60 and 75 now living in rural areas increased by 9% (from 30% to 39%).
The proportion of tenants in the same age group living in towns decreased by 7% (from 45% to 38%) and in city centres by 4% (from 7% to 3%).
Conversely, the proportion of 18-35 year olds saying they were now renting property in towns increased by 5% (45% to 50%), with the proportion falling 2% in rural areas from 15% to 13%, and the number of 18 to 22 year olds living in rural areas falling the sharpest (from 13% to 6%).
Overall, 29% of respondents cited the pandemic as their reason for moving, although this proportion was highest among 18-35 year olds (35%).
Matt Trevett, managing director at the DPS said: “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.
“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.”