the exodus of city dwellers to the countryside did not take place

This is no longer a scoop: the Covid-19 and the lockdowns that resulted from it have greatly upset all aspects of our daily life. And the real estate market is no exception. The health crisis has given city dwellers “green envies”: at the first confinement of spring 2020, nearly one in three French people said they were ready to leave city life to join the countryside, according to an OpinionWay survey in June 2020. La National Federation of Land Regulatory Bodies (FNSafer) also indicated last May that transactions involving houses in the countryside increased by 6.6% in one year.

But as we recently explained in our journal, the announced real estate big bang does not seem to have happened after all. The notaries of France evoke above all a tendency of city dwellers to leave for small towns located in departments bordering on agglomerations, which is still very far from a massive “rural exodus”. Unveiled on September 16, an Ifop poll (1) carried out for the real estate network OptimHome tends to confirm that the rush for the countryside remains in the minority.

The peri-urban attracts the most

According to this survey, 40% of French people prefer to buy or invest in a rural town. In comparison, 17% are more interested in properties located in a large city. “Geographic mobility is there, but these percentages are not revolutionary compared to previous years,” underlines Olivier Colcombet, president of the OptiHome network. Once again this year, the peri-urban area is the most attractive: 43% of respondents prefer to buy in a medium-sized city. “We note in particular that the generation of millennials continue to invest particularly on the outskirts of large cities,” adds the director of OptimHome.

For 46% of those surveyed, the main reason for buying a property elsewhere is the desire to live in a healthier, less polluted environment. This criterion is also essential for most of the different generations of buyers. 87% of those questioned believe that the level of air pollution is important in the context of a real estate purchase, and 91% consider that it is necessary to be able to have access to green spaces. Percentages that have fallen only slightly in one year: they were 89% and 93% respectively in May 2020.

The weight of telework

The health crisis has pushed many French people to telework: according to a study conducted by the National Association of HRDs (ANDRH), they were 45% to use it very strongly from the first confinement in spring 2020. According to the survey Ifop produced for OptimHome, the ease of working remotely is also a key criterion for 10% of real estate buyers.

In addition, if potential buyers remain attached to direct contact with real estate professionals, the use of ad sites remains the majority: 72% of respondents use them to search for a property.

(1) Ifop study for Optimhome carried out by self-administered online questionnaire from May 19 to 26, 2021 with a sample of 1,502 people, representative of the French population aged 25 to 65.

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