Research from some of the world’s leading property portals backs up the popular narrative that the advantages of urban living are going out of fashion as working from home increasingly proves it worth across the world.
According to Rightmove research, City residents contacting estate agents to buy a home in a village rose by 126% in June and July compared to the same period last year, outperforming a 68% uplift from people in cities enquiring to larger towns. The UK market leader’s research also says that the total number of buyers in the market for a property is up by 66% year on year for July as pent up demand has started coming into the market. The report goes on to mention that despite impending economic hardships, buyers looking outside of their home city appear not to be motivated by money, with the housing stock being viewed being of a similar price to the average city property.
Commenting on the report, Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said:
“The lure of a new lifestyle, one that is quieter and has an abundance of beautiful countryside and more outdoor space, has led to more city dwellers choosing to become rural residents. We saw a shift as early as April in more people living in cities enquiring about moving out of that city, and this trend has continued. The most popular village moves are still within the same region the home-hunters are currently in, as it’s likely they’ll keep their current job but may have the flexibility to commute less often and set up their working space at home.”
The UK trend is backed up by a very similar report released this week by Spanish #1 portal idealista whose research found that the interest in properties located in towns with a population of less than 5000 was at 13.2% for June compared to 10.1% in January. For example, In Madrid, the percentage of searches for rural property went from 3.7% to 6.2%. Only the Balearic Islands recorded a drop in interest in small towns.
Across the pond, Zillow’s figures show that rent growth in urban areas has slowed faster than that of suburban areas as unemployment bites. Zillow’s report says that the figures may indicate a “possible signal that preferences are shifting in favor of the suburbs.” but does temper against any wholesale conclusions as to the reasons behind the shift, noting that personal preference for a change of scenery and economic necessity are both in play here.