According to a survey conducted by Luminor Bank, one in three Baltic residents is considering moving outside the big cities, however it is important for more than a half of them to have all the necessary amenities in a home.* On average, 35% of them would like to move to a home near the capital, about 20% would like to live in a small town, and one in three would choose to live in a rural area.
More than a third or 32% of the surveyed residents of Latvia’s largest cities would like to move to rural areas, at the same time about a quarter would choose to live in one of Latvia’s small towns, but 13% – near the sea. 32% of respondents are considering moving to Riga, moreover, the proximity of the capital is more important for residents of Riga, while residents of Valmiera, Daugavpils, and Ventspils would most like to move to the countryside. At the same time, more than half of the respondents state that in order to make a decision about living in a small town or rural area, it is important for them to have all the necessary amenities, easy access to the city and well-arranged infrastructure, as well as a stable internet coverage.
“Although the Baltic capitals remain the centre of business, education, and culture, there is a growing desire for people to relocate outside the capital cities. According to the survey, residents of other big cities would also appreciate the opportunity to live closer to nature. Respondents in Lithuania are more likely than those in the other Baltic States to choose proximity to the capital, residents of Latvia – to choose living in a small town or in the countryside, and residents of Estonia – to choose proximity to the sea. Taking into account the growing interest of people in purchasing property outside the big cities, last year Luminor expanded the possibilities to obtain financing for home purchases in the regions. As the supply of housing in Riga is currently limited and property prices have risen, people are keen to take the opportunity, if not to move to the countryside completely, then to buy housing outside the city as their second property,”
says Kaspars Sausais, Mortgage Loan Expert at Luminor.
The main reason why people of the Baltics want to live outside the big cities is proximity to nature and a greener environment. This would be most appreciated by residents of Latvia (80%) and Estonia (78%), while in Lithuania living close to nature would be important to only 69% of respondents. The second most important reason for respondents in Latvia for moving out of the city was the opportunity to live in a bigger house (47%), while in Lithuania (57%) and Estonia (52%) it was the opportunity to have a garden. The Baltic residents also consider the possibility to move around more freely and to park a car easily, the generally cheaper living costs, and the possibility to keep pets as important advantages of living outside the city.
Of those Baltic residents surveyed who are not considering moving outside the capital or big cities, most mention satisfaction with their current place of residence as the main reason. Other important reasons include limited financial possibilities, doubts about job opportunities in the regions or the fact that the nature of the work does not allow remote working.
* The Luminor Bank survey was conducted in January 2022 in cooperation with the Norstat Latvia research agency, with more than 700 respondents aged 18-74 living in the biggest cities in each of the Baltic countries.