A noticeable split is emerging between tenants who moved during the pandemic with older people now more likely to move to the countryside whilst younger people are choosing to live in towns.
Results of a Deposit Protection Service survey found that of the 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 9% (from 30% to 39%).
The proportion of tenants in the same age group living in towns decreased by 7% (from 45% to 38%) and in city centres by 4% (from 7% to 3%).
Conversely, the proportion of 18-35-year-olds saying they were now renting property in towns increased by 5% (45% to 50%), with the proportion falling 2% in rural areas from 15% to 13%, and the number of 18 to 22-year-olds living in rural areas falling the sharpest (from 13% to 6%).
Overall, 29% of respondents cited the pandemic as their reason for moving, although this proportion was highest among 18-35-year-olds (35%).
Some 40% of respondents said that they had found it more difficult to find a suitable property as a result of the pandemic, with 35-60-year-olds most likely to have had issues (42%).
Overall, the proportion of respondents saying they were now living in a flat dropped by 4% (from 29% to 25%).
On average, just under half (47%) of all respondents moved five miles or less, 18% moved between five and 10 miles or more than 50 miles, 10% moved between 10 and 20 miles and 8% per cent moved between 20 and 25 miles.
Matt Trevett, Managing Director at The DPS said: “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.
“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.”