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Open Access Publication in the Spotlight - ' "To buy or not to buy a home in a rural risk area" by mid-to-later life home purchasers

Date:26 May 2023
Author:Open Access Team
Open access publication in the spotlight: May 2023
Open access publication in the spotlight: May 2023

Each month, the open access team of the University of Groningen Library (UB) puts a recent open access article by UG authors in the spotlight. This publication is highlighted via social media and the library’s newsletter and website.

The article in the spotlight for the month of May 2023 is titled ‘To buy or not to buy a home in a rural risk area’ by mid-to-later life home purchasers, written by Hieke van der Kloet (PhD student at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences and lecturer-researcher at the Hanzehogeschool) Elles Bulder (Hanzehogeschool) and Tialda Haartsen (Faculty of Spatial Sciences).  


Few studies on residential mobility of ageing adults to rural areas have investigated which of them buy a home in a rural risk area. This paper examines which socio-demographic characteristics, housing attributes and earthquake circumstances influence the actual choice of mid-to-later life adults to purchase a house in a rural risk area. The study focuses on housing transactions in the Dutch Groningen rural earthquake region, compared to transactions in the Groningen rural non-earthquake area from 2012 to 2019 (N = 6,082). Buying a house in the Groningen risk area might be challenging, as the earthquakes have had a significant impact on the regional housing market, the building structure of the houses and the wellbeing of the residents. Earlier research nonetheless suggests that, despite the risks, homebuyers still purchase houses in the Groningen earthquake area. The developed model predicts which mid-to-later life homebuyers of 50 years and older will purchase a dwelling in the Groningen earthquake region. Logistic regression analyses show that characteristics of the mid-to-later life homebuyer and earthquake circumstances are decisive aspects in respect of this choice. Being a single mid-to-later life homebuyer, with a previous residence in the Groningen earthquake region or being born in this region, enlarges the probability of purchasing a home in the earthquake region. Another significant predictor of a home purchase in the earthquake region appears to be a higher earthquake intensity of the homebuyer’s previous residence. These conclusions indicate the existence of a local housing market in rural risk areas.

We asked corresponding author Hieke van der Kloet a few questions about the article:

In this study you combined a dataset comprising all housing transactions in the province of Groningen, registered by the Land Registry of the Netherlands (the so-called ‘Cadastre’) with earthquake data from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). How did you obtain these data?

We used a selection from a dataset with housing transactions in the province of Groningen that has been compiled by research staff of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences from various sources. Over time, this dataset has been continuously expanded, in connection with several studies that have been carried out. For instance, peak ground velocity values (PGV-values) at address level, calculated from property location information and KNMI data, have been included in the dataset. For our article, we used part of the entire database: we only used the data from 17 August 2012, after the most severe earthquake in Huizinge, until 1 January 2019, and then selected for home buyers aged over 50 years.

Is this dataset openly available? Has this dataset been made FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable)? 

The KNMI-data are openly available and the Land Registry applies rates for data on housing transactions so therefore the used dataset is available to the researchers involved. The used data are certainly FAIR for the researchers: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Our research is a good example of 'Reusability' of the data in particular.

What is it like to combine your job as a lecturer-researcher at the Hanzehogeschool with doing a PhD project at the UG’s Faculty of Spatial Sciences? 

It is a challenging combination to be a PhD researcher and at the same time also a lecturer-researcher at Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen (Hanze UAS). One of the advantages of the combination is that it allows you to take a step back and have an eye for real estate practice.

Naturally, the subject of my PhD research is related to my job as a lecturer-researcher at the Department of Real Estate Studies and Research Centre for Built Environment NoorderRuimte (KCNR). I am particularly interested in the relationship a homeowner has with his or her home. Especially when that relationship comes under pressure if the property is e.g., in an earthquake area. I find the motives why someone chooses a particular property in a residential environment a fascinating topic, but certainly also if a homeowner continues to live somewhere, even under difficult conditions.

Does the Hanzehogeschool have an open access policy? What type of open access support is available at the Hanzehogeschool?

At the Hanze UAS, the emphasis is not primarily on scientific research and scientific publications, but more on practice-oriented research and professional journals. Nevertheless, there is also an increasing emphasis on stimulating scientific research skills by students and lecturers. 

We also have an open access policy and support within Hanze UAS. Open science is highly relevant for practice-oriented research at universities of applied sciences. After all, 'practice' largely consists of small and medium-sized enterprises, small institutions, self-employed people, and citizens. Hanze UAS has an open science policy. It describes the policy principles and follow-up steps with which Hanze UAS intends to make the results of practice-based research open, findable and (re)usable for its stakeholders in the future. It supports and facilitates open science as much as possible under the motto 'Share your research, move the world'. As far as open access support is concerned, services have been increasingly tailored to this in recent years. We have information specialists in the field of open access publishing who provide daily support in this area. In addition, several products and facilities related to open access publishing are available such as an open access fund, mini lectures and webinars open access.

Could you reflect on your experiences with open access and open science in general?

My experiences with open access are very positive. It is nice if you also have easy access to other publications if they are open access. In addition, I think that open science is certainly a good initiative from the practice-oriented point of view of Hanze UAS. For instance, to include the (practical) experiences of citizens in the earthquake area in various ways in scientific research, I think is a great thing. In a subsequent paper (soon to be submitted to a journal), 'public engagement' of residents in the earthquake area therefore plays an important role for me. For this paper I have used published interviews with residents from the earthquake area as source material. 

Useful links:

The UG’s Digital Competence Centre supports UG researchers throughout the entire research (data) life cycle, from grant proposal to FAIR data archiving.

The University of Groningen’s open access policy and open access support.


Van der Kloet, H.T., Bulder, E.A. & Haartsen, T. ‘To buy or not to buy a home in a rural risk area’ by mid-to-later life home purchasers. J Hous and the Built Environ (2023). 

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Open Access Team
The Open Access team of the University of Groningen Library

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