The British Village Revival

Report shows growing trend in desire to move to rural locations

  • New report shows 21% of house movers want to live in a village, compared to 14% for a market town and only 12% for either a big city or a suburb
  • It also shows a significant increase in people looking for rental accommodation in villages, with 10% of people hoping to move to a village intending to rent, up from just 1% in 2013
  • The South East, South West and the North West are the three leading destinations for people who are intending to move in the next five years
  • 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
  • England’s rural economy now accounts for £210 billion of economic output and hosts over 25% of all registered businesses
  • The report by Strutt & Parker defines a village as a settlement that has between 3,000 and 10,000 inhabitants. This equates to around 14% of the population in England and Wales, approximately 10% of the population in Scotland and 15% of the population in Northern Ireland.

A growing trend from a move away from Britain’s big urban areas and into rural areas, namely villages has been identified in a report released today.

The Housing Futures report released by Strutt & Parker shows that more than 20% of people planning on moving home would like 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.

And it’s not just those wishing to sell up from their city lives to buy in a village setting, with the report showing 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.

The South East, South West and North East are the three leading destinations for people who are intending to move in the next five years. London’s strong economy and housing market will have a direct effect on the South East, which will attract 29% of those intending to move out of the capital as people look for more affordable, spacious accommodation, while also being able to commute to well-paid jobs in London. The South West’s appeal as a lifestyle and retirement location is set to continue attracting moves from the South East (12%) and London (8%). With increased government investment in the Northern Powerhouse, the North West is likely to retain 69% of those who already live in the region. Any outside buyers are most likely to be from the North East or Ireland (both 5%). London will experience the lowest retention rate of any regional (35%) with more sellers planning to cash in on their property equity by moving out of the capital.

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. Broadband and mobile connections are also seen as essential to rural life. Access to broadband was a key factor for 49%, while 38% highlighted mobile connectivity. 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%).

The report show that while 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 – 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.

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.

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. 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).

Strutt & Parker defines a village as a settlement that has between 3,000 and 10,000 inhabitants. This equates to around 14% of the population in England and Wales, approximately 10% of the population in Scotland and 15% of the population in Northern Ireland.

Share