Reappraisal of urban living

3 million people in the UK aged over 50 considering relocating

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has lead to a reappraisal of urban living, with increasing numbers fleeing city confines in search of green space.

3 million people aged over 50 (12%) now plan to relocate in retirement, as a direct result of the pandemic. A year of lockdowns has led these over 50s to want to move closer to family and friends, pursue a better quality of life or even move abroad.

Leaving major urban areas
New research has found that 3 million people in the UK aged over 50 are considering relocating, as a direct result of Covid-19[1].
In 2020, the Office for National Statistics[2] revealed that people of retirement age in England were already leaving major urban areas and instead moving to rural areas, locations by the coast or to areas of ‘outstanding natural beauty.’

Retirement migration hotspots
The data demonstrated that Dorset, Shropshire and Wiltshire were ‘retirement migration hotspots’, while England’s largest cities saw net outflows of retirement age residents, with London, Birmingham and Bristol seeing the largest number of exits.

Nearly a year on, the research has found that the pandemic has influenced some over 50s to plan a move after a year of lockdowns. Over 50s want to relocate to somewhere that offers a better quality of life (7%), to move close to friends and family (4%) or to live abroad (3%).

Freeing up property wealth
When planning a move, many over 50s consider how the value of their current home plays a role in their long-term plans. 1.3 million pre-retirees over 50 (9%) see themselves as more likely to turn to their property wealth to fund their lifestyle than before the pandemic. In instances where people are relocating, they may downsize to free up property wealth.

When considering relocating to a new area make sure your new home is as future proof as possible – it’s important to think carefully about the type of property you choose and whether it will suit you for the long term. Is it accessible or could it be easily renovated to meet your needs in the future?

Challenges of the pandemic
Understand how a new area might impact on your living costs – it’s important to consider any difference in living costs between areas and whether, over-all, you are likely to spend more money, or save money, in your new location.

Relocating in retirement was already a well-observed trend, with older people reprioritising their needs as they enter the next stage of their life. As with many aspects of our lives, the challenges of the pandemic seem to have led many people to take stock of their current living situation.

Better quality of life
There can be many benefits to relocation, whether it is a better quality of life, more space or even the opportunity to be closer to loved ones.
One thing that is clear is that many people will also see their decision informed by how their property wealth factors into their long-term financial planning.

Source data:
[1] Opinium Research for Legal & General ran a series of online interviews among a nationally representative panel of 2,009 over 50s from the 19th to the 23rd February 2021. 242 over 50s plans to relocate out of 2009 UK over 50s – 242 / 2009 25,197,069 over 50s = 3,035,187 or 3 million.
[2] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/ageing/articles/livinglongertrendsinsubnationalageingacrosstheuk/2020-07-20#migration-of-older-people-is-driven-by-movement-away-from-major-cities-to-rural-and-coastal-areas

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