During the second quarter of 2020, Realtor.com’s quarterly Cross Market Demand Report found that 51% of property searches on the site from city residents in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas were for homes in the suburbs of those metro areas, a record high since the website began tracking that data in 2017. In addition, Redfin real estate brokerage reported that a record number (27.4%) of Redfin.com users were looking to move to a different metro area during the second quarter of 2020.
“Covid-19 has acted as a catalyst for people who were already thinking of moving to the suburbs,” says Jamie Koppersmith, an associate broker with McEnearney Associates in the District. “Some of my clients are thinking that now that they don’t have to be downtown for work every day, maybe they can get more living space for the same amount of money in the suburbs.”
Multiple factors are driving the interest in moving, including low mortgage rates that increase affordability for buyers; the ability of many people to work remotely; and concern that some city amenities will take years to be widely available again.
The pandemic has also led many people to reevaluate their lifestyle, with some recognizing that they want to live closer to their family. Other city dwellers want to have more living space and expand their access to outdoor space, two features that are harder to come by and more expensive within city limits.
“The past five months or so have been great for Greenwich and other Connecticut towns,” says Yashmin Lloyds, a real estate agent with Compass in Greenwich, Conn. “A lot of young families who planned to move from Manhattan in five years or so sped up their plans by two or three years because of covid-19. I’m also seeing a lot of buyers from all over the country who have moved to be closer to their aging parents because of the pandemic. Some of them are looking for properties with a private guest space or the ability to build a guesthouse for their parents.”
More than 16,000 New Yorkers switched their mail to suburban Connecticut addresses from March through June, according to U.S. Postal Service data reported by the Hartford Courant newspaper.
“We’ve seen a big volume of buyers since the pandemic started coming from Seattle and from cities in California to more rural areas outside Tacoma,” says Lindsay Weingart, a real estate agent with Redfin in Pierce County, Tacoma and Gig Harbor in Washington state. “People are realizing they can do their jobs remotely indefinitely or only go to an office once a week or so and they want more space for their money.” Read more via MessengerInquirer