Does your rural school need to prepare for an influx of town mice banging on the school gates to be let in? And what about city schools – will the classrooms and corridors be empty come September? MTM’s Market Report: UK Home Moves 2021 busts some myths about recent removals and offers some real insights into the way households typically move across the country – reserve your copy of the full report, free of charge!
‘There are loads of people moving out of (insert major city name here) and moving to our area,’ is a comment we have heard time and again from MTM clients over the past eight months. Many have this information straight from the horse’s (ie estate agent’s) mouth, whipping up a frenzy of house-buying in the more sought- after rural areas, particularly those with good rail or road links to (insert major city name here).
But is this really the case? As we at MTM know all too well, the only way to accurately answer a question like that is with market research – so it won’t surprise you to read that we did some. We are in the fortunate position of having all sorts of UK-wide data at our fingertips, so we turned to our friends at Royal Mail for the information they hold on users of their post redirection service – householders moving home and wanting their mail to follow them.
The findings were quite revealing. Over the past five years, an average 100,000 UK households moved home every month, totalling 1.2 million per year.
On close inspection of the data (which covered 80% of those moves) we discovered that people do not usually move very far – over the past five years, the average move distance was 26 miles; in fact three-quarters of UK moves were less than 15 miles.
Obviously, we can hazard some guesses as to why this might be – not taking the children away from their school has got to be right up there, along with not making the commute to the workplace any longer than it already is. During 2020 (the year of Covid) the number of moves of 15 miles or less only dropped by 2.3% – busting the myth that swarms of people are packing up their goods and chattels and heading for a fresh start far away; only an additional 2% of households moved further than 60 miles in 2020, compared to the number in 2016.
A new life
The appeal of the British countryside is easy to see, but have large numbers of families deserted the city for a new life in the country? Anyone who is involved in running a school in London, or any of the UK’s major cities, knows that a proportion of the population is pretty itinerant; they move for work, mainly, but also for cultural experience and a host of other reasons that mean they are not planning to say for long.
On average, 46,000 households move out of London every year; in 2020 this number increased by just under 10%, equating to around 4,479 extra households getting out of the city.
Of course, we can’t know the reasons for this, but the largest number of households moved to Buckinghamshire (so, good news for you if your school is in that lovely county). Dorset and Wiltshire were also popular and there was a little more movement than usual from London to other parts of the East, South East and South West.
As expected, the number of house moves did drop during the nation-wide lockdown of April and May 2020, to around half the usual level. Normal service was resumed in June 2020 though and a catch-up throughout the rest of the year meant that 2020 ended as a year of typical house moves.
So, it seems that there has not been the expected mass exodus of families from the cities to the country, though some may have moved a little further than usual – perhaps prompted by the sudden desire for green open spaces, as well as more value for their property pound to buy larger homes with gardens and maybe a useful home office.
What is worth bearing in mind is that families tend not to move too far, so making sure your school is well known in the immediate area is always a good investment of the marketing budget, as is keeping current pupils and parents content – so they just can’t bear the thought of packing up their possessions and moving on to pastures new.
For a more detailed analysis of home moves into and out of your organisation’s catchment area, please chat to the friendly MTM team