There is often debate as to where the best place to invest is. For some time the UK’s northern cities have reigned victorious over Central London’s housing market, boosted by crowds of young professionals seeking fast-paced city life and excellent job opportunities.
In fact, rapid urbanisation has resulted in more than half of the world’s people live in cities for the first time ever according to the Cities Alliance. And the world’s most populous cities are continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate as people seek a better life, resulting in a property market landscape geared toward investors who can benefit from rising rents as urban populations swell, ultimately pushing up demand.
However new research from AA Financial Services shows that many UK residents might be considering pastures new, and a departure from urban areas in favour of a quieter life.
Its research revealed that 18% of moving households in Britain are more than twice as likely to move to the country rather than the city. This lifestyle change is influenced by young families looking to settle down in a good area to raise children, close to schools, fresh air and room to play safely. As well as this, a number said they would move to be closer to family, opting for a cheaper and calmer lifestyle.
The under-25 age bracket bucked the trend, though, with 18% responding that they would opt to move to a city compared to just 9% who said the country. This is a significant difference from the over-35s, 13% of which would rather move to the country, opposed to just 3% to the city. An even bigger difference in opinion is observed in the over-55s group where 31% actively moved house to be closer to the country and only 1% would want to relocate to the city.
Director of AA Financial Services, David Searle, described the UK as ‘green and pleasant’, resulting in a huge draw for those looking to move away from urban areas. He commented: “The countryside offers a better quality of life and this is playing out in today’s property market.
“It really is time for the industry to look beyond London and better understand what is happening in the regions. Whilst our research shows London is the most popular place to move to, this is driven by young people, many of whom are renters or would struggle to get on the property market in the Capital.”
The data is interesting as it indicates that a generation of young professional dwellers, often known as millennials, are now reaching the age where they may consider moving out of the city and starting a family. This begs the question: is the city still the best place to invest? Well, despite one wave of renters moving out of the city, there is little doubt that they will be replaced by the next generation. It’s long been accepted that younger generations, unlike their parents, are more likely to seek a high quality life in the city before eventually moving further out to start their next chapter.
It seems that gone are the days of the majority leaving school, marrying and having children fresh from education, but rather the cities are becoming home for the 20-35 age bracket where careers can be built. This is echoed in the research, too, where 42% of under-25s said they would move house for their career.
So what does all this mean for property investors looking for a good opportunity? As always, city centre apartments are expected to remain in high demand, just as are decent family homes in the catchment area for good schools. The most important thing to remember is who you are trying to attract with your property.
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