Living in the ‘countryside

The NVM notes an increase in the number of moves to the ‘countryside’. Now the countryside is of course a rather elastic concept. According to the definition, all areas outside the built-up area are rural. So whoever takes a step outside of Nuenen or, say, Best, is right in the middle of it. But how can you say that you are suddenly in a sparsely populated area with far fewer facilities and a very different culture, which are also characteristics of the countryside? It is more ‘urbanized countryside’ you could say. Personally I think more of areas around Bergeijk and Reusel-De Mierden to name but a few.

In any case, a slightly growing interest in the rural area had already been noticeable for some years. Certainly from the Randstad there was already an attraction to areas such as the Achterhoek, Southeast Drenthe and Southwest Friesland. Incidentally, these are often people with higher incomes who sometimes even keep a floor in the city. But working from home by corona would have given an extra impulse, reinforcing this trend somewhat, the NVM figures show. In 2020, the share of people buying a rural home from the Randstad increased from 16% to 18%. Not a landslide, but a clear strengthening. And as a result, the tightness and sales velocity in rural areas are also increasing, as are the price increases. Rural home prices were up 13% in 2020.

I have argued quite a bit in recent years that the big city increasingly acts as a magnet and is in strong demand by young people and international knowledge workers. That movement will not radically reverse, but we are seeing more willingness to drive a few miles further for a nice place to live. The scarcity in the city is also related to this, of course. And the countryside may offer more space to urban dwellers in the future, partly due to the transformation of agriculture. But anyone who thinks they can still achieve great price advantages in the countryside needs to act fast. Because the countryside has also started to catch up in terms of price increases.