A study conducted by the University of Bath has revealed significant shifts in attitudes towards where UK flatsharers want to live and who they live with since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsored by flatsharing website ideal flatmate, the study interviewed flatsharers across the UK during the last six months. The website believes findings point to trends that are likely to remain beyond the lifting of all lockdown restrictions.
The results found that the pandemic has led to a reduction in the number of people saying they want to flatshare in the future. Those that do want to said it’ll be with a smaller group of people. This has led to an increased importance of certain personality traits with the highest shifts in factors being: cleanliness, sociability and the importance of spending time together.
64% of respondents stated that they would feel uncomfortable living with people who broke the social distancing rules. This may have ongoing implications for flatmate preferences in the future, particularly around attitudes towards vaccination.
Despite the pandemic, 68% of flatsharers still prefer to live in city locations. However, there has been a shift in locational preferences towards rural locations, such as villages, towns or suburbs. Many young sharers have also relocated back home to families during the pandemic.
The study indicates an increased importance for gardens and closeness to green space, with a 33% increase in flatsharers saying this was a key factor in the future. There is also an increased importance for work-appropriate space due to the demands of working from home which is expected to continue beyond the pandemic, with 55% of flatsharers now working from home more than they did before COVID-19.
Tom Gatzen, Co-Founder of ideal flatmate, commented: “The pandemic has seen an extraordinary change in people’s lives, attitudes and living circumstances in a short period of time. This study reflects the way flatsharers now feel and some of the different factors that are now important to them when choosing where to live and who to live with.
“At ideal flatmate, we have seen a lot of anecdotal evidence of sharers discussing attitudes to Covid before they move in with strangers, and this is borne out by the research with two-thirds not wanting to live with people who have broken the rules. This is likely to remain a factor as we move out of lockdown and the vaccine campaign is rolled out amongst the youngest population groups in the UK.”