Major ideal flatmate study finds shift in flatsharing attitudes related to Covid pandemic

  • Major study commissioned by ideal flatmate finds shift in flatsharing attitudes driven by covid pandemic.
  • 64% of flatsharers feel uncomfortable living with people who broke the social distancing rules.
  • 55% of sharers now work from home more regularly than before the pandemic.
  • 33% more flatsharers now cite living near to green spaces as a key factor in their choice of property.
  • 68% of flatsharers would still rather live in a city.
  • There has been a shift in the number of people flatsharers are willing to live with, with most now preferring to live with fewer people than before the pandemic.

The first major study into attitudes of flatsharers in the UK since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed significant shifts in attitudes towards where sharers want to live and also who they live with. A study sponsored by flatsharing site ideal flatmate, spent the last 6 months interviewing flatsharers across the UK, with the findings pointing to trends that are likely to remain beyond the lifting of all lockdown restrictions.

The pandemic has led to a reduction in the number of people saying they want to flatshare in the future, with those that do saying they want to share in smaller groups 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.

Attitudes to COVID-19, such as the level of rule obeying, were found to have a significant impact on flatmate preferences. 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, the majority (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.’