According to a new report, five new village tribes have been identified amid the emergence of a new creeping trend in housing – the desire to move back to rural locations.
Through speaking with industry experts and conducting an extensive survey with 2,600 respondents, research has uncovered some new and interesting housing personas that are growing in the UK and moving to a village near you:
An influential family with substantial income living in the grandest village house. While the most prestigious house in the village would once have been owned by the local squire, many of these properties have now been acquired by buyers using property equity to purchase a rural idyll.
Healthy and active retirees who have assets, including their own home and pension income. Born after the Second World War, the Elderflowers have benefitted from sustained economic growth and are now the largest demographic in the UK. Elderflowers have either lived in the village all their lives or are empty nesters looking to move into a village house that suits their changing needs.
Entrepreneurs and creatives who can bring dynamism to the village economy. These diverse countryside dwellers embrace new approaches to work and lifestyle. For example, rural areas have the highest rate of homeworkers – 33% compared to 12% in urban areas. Technology is key to this group, with 49% of those intending to move to a village citing broadband as the key motivation for moving, up from 41% in 2014.
…or Rural Newbies – families who are keen to move to a village location to raise their children. This group of predominantly younger families supports the local school, uses community facilities for classes and leisure facilities, and sustains local shops.
Single-person households which are growing across all age groups in the UK at a rate ten times faster than the general population. About 3.8 million older people are sole occupiers and 70% of these are women.
James Ward, Partner at Mount & Minster estate agents in Lincoln, said: “The face of the modern village is changing as new demographic groups play key roles in shaping the future of rural life.”
The Downtons are certainly a village tribe that are familiar to Mount & Minster. Of our clients who are buying outside of London in the £2 million-plus bracket, 98% say they would want the property to be a house or an estate/farm estate. Many of our clients are also Elderflowers, who arguably have more potential power to shape the village of the future than any other village tribe; by 2033, 60% of household growth will be headed by those aged 65 or over.
Rusticarians are part of an exciting new group of wider rural entrepreneurs and homeworkers with a reliance on technology, who will play a crucial part in the evolution of the modern village. Surprisingly, entrepreneurs are most prevalent in the countryside than in cities. Research from DEFRA in 2015, points out that the number of businesses registered per head of population is higher in predominantly rural areas than predominantly urban ones.”
Affordability of housing is a well-documented issue but much of the media coverage on the topic tends to focus around London. In fact, the situation in some rural locations is just as concerning. Rubies are particularly exposed to this. In England, 59% of those aged 25-34 owned their own home in 2003/4 and 10 years later this figure was just 36%. The good news is that Help to Buy is having a positive impact on this tribe.
The Onesies are also a very important, often overlooked tribe to consider in non-urban locations. The challenge for planners in rural areas is to provide suitable housing options for these single people, who quite often want to downsize but are seeking a more spacious option than a typical one-bedroom flat.