Corona is accelerating migration to rural areas, agents say

Due to the corona crisis, more urbanites want to move to the countryside than before. Dozens of brokers say this in a tour of News hour.

A poll by Funda among more than 1100 users of the housing website reinforces that image. Twelve percent of the respondents are considering trading the city for a village due to the corona crisis. Another five percent say they will leave the city if the situation has not changed in a year.

‘Hysterical’

“Corona makes it seem like everyone has been given an extra push, and I understand that,” says real estate agent Suzanne Thöene, who specializes in home seekers who want to leave the city. “If you are together at home 24 hours a day, you start looking very differently at the space you have.”

Thöene is twice as busy as before the corona crisis, she says. She speaks of “hysterical” scenes. “It’s crazy. An application from fifty, sixty people per house is not even crazy anymore. I have waiting lists for viewings.”

The corona measures that force people to stay indoors are an important cause of the trend towards the countryside, says Chief Government Architect Floris Alkemade. “People have realized that they can work from home. And with that, the considerations of where you want to live have also changed. That could be a lasting effect of this pandemic.”

Alkemade has long seen a development in which more urban and Randstad residents are exchanging their homes for a house in the countryside. “You see movements that were already set in motion before the pandemic and are now accelerating.”

You can also live in Sint-Oedenrode and still be connected to everything that urban life has to offer.

Floris Alkemade, Chief Government Architect

He calls cities “breeding grounds for cultural exchanges, where everything happens”. But the success of cities is that they are hardly affordable for more and more people.

And so villages are an attractive, more affordable alternative for more and more people. Alkemade himself first lived in Rotterdam, but nowadays in the small Sint-Oedenrode. “I also find urban life attractive, but living in villages like this brings an enormous quality of life. An overwhelming amount of nature, beautiful landscapes and there is also a kind of social cohesion.”

“Moreover, the Netherlands is so small that you can live here and still be connected to everything urban life has to offer.”

A private piece of land

Alkemade sees the attractiveness of the city towards the village as “long-term movements”. In recent years, “all arrows seemed to be aimed at the city and that is now settling again”.

Broker Thöene expects that “the madness” in her market will decrease in the near future, but that the trend towards rural areas will remain for the time being. “Not many houses will suddenly be added. And everything that is being built new in the city is very close together, while the feeling of wanting space is becoming increasingly important. Having your own piece of land remains very popular.”

A problem for anyone looking for a home outside the city is that houses are running out there too:

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