Urban Dwellers are Choosing To Move To The Suburbs – Urban trends of the last 50 years are showing signs of being reversed. A combination of the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social unrest is prompting folks to move from large cities and permanently relocate to more sparsely populated areas.
Metropolitan areas across the U.S. are experiencing residents of all ages and incomes moving in record numbers to suburban areas and small towns – places where social distancing is more of a built-in part of everyday life. The trend has been accelerated by shifting attitudes and technology that makes it easier than ever to work remotely.
According to data from a recent Harris Poll survey, nearly a third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated areas as a result of the pandemic. “Space now means something more than square feet,” Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said. “Already beset by high rents and clogged streets, the virus is now forcing urbanites to consider social distancing as a lifestyle.”
Urbanites (43%) were twice as likely than suburban (26%) and rural (21%) dwellers to have recently browsed a real estate website for homes and apartments to rent or buy, the survey showed.
The shifts happening during this pandemic are not only challenging and far-reaching, but they could continue long after a vaccine or treatment is found. “People will be much more cautious about living in high-density areas with so many people nearby,” predicts Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.
More than half of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas are seeing increased interest in the suburbs. Recent data from Realtor.com suggests people are interested in moving and there seems to be an increasing appeal in properties outside of cities.
Realtor.com figures, which compared this June to June of 2019, found that homes in rural and suburban zip codes saw the biggest jump in average views per property. Homes in urban zip codes had a 19% increase in views compared to last year. But homes in suburban zip codes had a much larger 30% jump. Homes in rural zip codes saw a 34% increase in views.
Although property views are not sales, these numbers do reflect at least an interest in getting out of the most densely packed areas and into communities that are more spread out. The demand for homes is fuelled not only by fears that coronavirus infections in densely populated urban areas could rise again next winter but also by fundamental shifts in demand from in-office to remote workers.
Many experts say that It’s not yet clear how the pandemic will reshape cities in the long run, but it has definitely accelerated trends that were already underway before the coronavirus outbreak. If the allure of cities declines further due to the risk of disease, an uncertain economy, and a future of telework, the flight to suburbia and rural safety will continue well after a coronavirus vaccine or treatment becomes available.
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Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
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