The much-hyped move from cities to the country thanks to the pandemic is happening - but it’s much more likely to apply to the oldest renters, not to those younger or middle-aged tenants.
That’s the finding of a survey by The Deposit Protection Service of some 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 nine per cent to 39 per cent.
The proportion of tenants in the same age group living in towns decreased by seven per cent to 38 per cent, and roughly halved in city centres to just three per cent in total.
Conversely, the proportion of 18 to 35 year olds saying they were now renting property in towns increased by five per cent to 50 per cent; the number of 18 to 22 year olds living in rural areas fell the sharpest of any group in the survey, from 13 per cent to six per cent.
Overall, 29 per cent of respondents cited the pandemic as their reason for moving, although this proportion was highest among 18 to 35 year olds - 35 per cent.
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 issues.
Overall, the proportion of respondents saying they were now living in a flat dropped by four per cent from 29 to 25 per cent; and on average just under half of all respondents moved five miles or less, with only eight per cent moving 20 miles or more.
“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.”