Once an outsider, always an outsider? The accessibility of the Dutch rural housing market among locals and non-locals

20-05-2012 | Publication

Are intended movers with a preference for rural living able to move to their preferred rural location? One of the most pressing questions in the rural gentrification literature is whether rural residents face difficulties in finding a home within their locality due to the influx of more wealthy newcomers. Especially on the local level, there are concerns that rural residents face difficulties in finding a home within their locality because of the demand for rural living by more affluent newcomers. In this paper, the extent to which intended local movers and intended non-local movers have realised their rural residential preferences in their preferred municipality is investigated.

Although many studies on rural gentrification allege that rural areas are becoming more “middle-class” and that rural residents are outbid by non-locals and subsequently forced to move to elsewhere, this study demonstrates that in spite of their lower income, intended local movers are far more likely to find homes within their preferred rural location than are intended non-local movers. Intended non-local movers move more often to a location other than that initially preferred. That is, urbanites are more likely to move to (or within) an urban area, and non-urbanites to a rural area in a municipality other than initially preferred. Their place of origin is an important determinant to which people realise or adjust their rural location preferences. It may be that the rural location preference of intended non-local movers is more fluid and less pronounced and that this makes them more willing to move to a location different than that initially preferred. Furthermore, factors such as place attachment and the existence of local ties may cause intended local movers to be more likely to remain in their current home rather than moving elsewhere.

The findings suggest that ties to the residential environment are more important in successfully finding housing in one’s preferred rural location than are financial resources. A multilevel multinomial logistic regression analysis is employed on data from two housing surveys for the Netherlands that are enriched with register data from the longitudinal Social Statistical Database (SSD).