The world might seem focused on urbanisation, but according to new research, there is the emergence of a new creeping desire to move back to amenity-rich rural locations.
The latest survey identifies four factors that are shaping this village revival:
1. 21% of survey respondents who are moving home said that they wanted to live in a village, making it easily the most popular type of location, compared to 14% for a market town and only 12% for either a big city or a suburb.
2. Broadband and mobile connections are essential to rural life. Access to broadband was a key factor for 49% of those intending to move to a village, while 38% highlighted mobile connectivity.
3. A significant increase in respondents looking for rental accommodation. 10% of those wanting to move to a village would live in a professionally managed private rental unit, up from 1% in 2013.
4. Ease of access is an important issue for respondents intending to move to a village, with 60% wanting to be able to walk to shops, 48% to local transport and 45% to medical facilities.
Ralph Wyrley-Birch, Managing Partner at Mount & Minster, said: “The UK might seem to be focused on urbanisation but we believe a new, overlooked trend is set to shape Britain’s housing market over the coming decades – the desire to move back to rural.”
Mount & Minster estate agents in Lincoln have calved out a niche in the Lincolnshire rural countryside by successfully selling some of the most attractive and unique country cottages in villages throughout Lincolnshire.
Existing research would suggest cities have the upper hand over villages – by the mid-century there will be approximately 65 million people living in Britain’s cities, compared to just 8 million in rural areas. However, as the urban trend has gathered pace in the UK, a number of negative traits have begun to appear such as a rise in inadequate housing provision, urban sprawl and increased pollution.
21% of respondents who are moving home said they wanted to live in a village. The shift away from cities is being driven by people looking for neighbourhood safety (86%), and space between neighbours (58%), as well as for a strong community feel (48%).
According to DEFRA, in 2013/14, the UK saw net internal migration of 60,000 people to predominantly rural areas in England. It is a trend that has been positive every year since 2001. But this reverse migration is not to a traditional rural environment. The influence that technology is having on shopping, communications and working habits is helping to transform villages and the type of people who want to live in them.
Mr Wyrley-Birch continued: “Technology is helping to change the rural economy, which plays a key role in creating jobs and prosperity. England’s rural economy now accounts for £210 billion of economic output and hosts over 25% of all registered businesses, according to DEFRA. New companies are thriving in rural locations, including hi-tech manufacturing, food processing, the service sector, retail and power supply (in the form of renewables). The expansion of broadband and mobile communications has seen a greater uptake of working from home in rural locations compared to urban areas. It seems that the same factors that once drove urbanisation – improving economic and social conditions – are now inspiring the village revival.”