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Urban demographics: Why people live where they do

Published On: 1 November 2015

Sponsored by the firm, the first part of the Urban Demographics research identifies trends in population movement in the UK, highlighting a significant return to city living, particularly for young adults.  

The second element, meanwhile, investigates exactly why people choose to live where they do. It outlines the implications for how we manage demand for housing and the type of housing required, as well as exploring the provision of the services and amenities that people will need throughout the different stages of their life. 

Price, proximity to friends and family, size and type were identified as the top three factors for people deciding where to live while higher education facilities and the growth of knowledge-based jobs have been key in attracting young adults into the cities.

The report, which is based on YouGov polls of nearly 4,000 residents across the UK, also shows that locational preferences are associated, to a large degree, with different phases in people's lives. For instance, the suburbs will play an increasingly important role in absorbing young people as they are priced out of the city centre and cities reach saturation point.

Commenting on the publication of the new report, Michael Bothamley said: "This important study confirms a particular group of factors that have created thriving city centres and sets out the conditions necessary for future growth. The clear link identified between choice of home location and life stage emphasises for providers of housing and private and public services the importance of alignment to these requirements.”

Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said: “This research shows how the face of UK cities has changed dramatically over the last fifteen years – with city-centres transforming from often deprived and crime-ridden areas into places where young professionals across the country increasingly want to live and work. 

“While the report highlights the potential downsides of urban living, such as high housing costs or the lack of open space, it’s clear that for many young people these drawbacks are outweighed by the appeal of access to highly-skilled jobs, amenities, restaurants and shops, which are making city centres magnets for young talent." 

Urban grit or suburban comfort: where do people prefer to live?

Read the full report

Produced by Centre for Cities

The research has been prepared by Elli Thomas, Researcher Ilona Serwicka, Researcher and Paul Swinney, Senior Economist at Centre for Cities and sponsored by DAC Beachcroft. Read more on the report and the work undertaken by Centre for Cities.

Michael Bothamley, Head of Real Estate
T: +44 (0)117 918 2055
E: mbothamley@dacbeachcroft.com

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