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Is the Pandemic Driving More People to the Suburbs?

By: Kelly Leighton on in

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of our daily lives, but for some consumers, it may lead them to move to a new, less populated area.

Realtor.com® found that in the second quarter of 2020, 51% of people from urban areas using their site to shop for homes were looking in the suburbs. This is the highest percentage since these numbers began being tracked three years ago.

“We see lingering effects of the coronavirus on shopping behavior and preferences. In the Northeast, especially, people are now as likely as before the pandemic to be looking for a home in a market that’s not where they currently live. However, those looking elsewhere are much more likely to be looking in smaller, nearby markets,” said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “With remote work more common and accepted, it seems that people are looking to locate further from the office either to enjoy more space at a better price, or get closer to nature in the mountains or at the beach. At this point, they are not venturing too far away.”

In the Northeast, buyers significantly decreased their suburb searching in the height of the quarantine in April, but searches have seen an uptick since then. In May, urban shoppers in the Northeast increased their suburban searches by 3.6% compared to the time last year. The site also reported that since July, smaller markets across the northeastern U.S., have seen an increase of popularity in their markets. Meanwhile, the South and Midwest have seen a dip in popularity as COVID-19 cases continue to persist.

Buyers Still Motivated, Despite Pandemic Challenges

“Home is more important than ever before, and ownership has become a key priority for many, particularly those who have never bought a home before,” said D. Steve Boland, president of retail at Bank of America. “Owning a home has historically helped families create a legacy and enabled them to build long-term wealth.”

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