Nearly 30 Percent of Homebuyers Plan to Relocate to Small Metro Areas, Even More to Suburbs. Here's Why.

Twenty-seven percent of homebuyers plan to relocate to smaller metro areas as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Data from real estate brokerage Redfin showed that 27 percent of more than 1 million homebuyers on its site looked to move to smaller metro areas in April and May. Good to know as you scout for your next flip.

Similarly, a report from Realtor.com released in late June showed that house hunters in over half of the nation’s 100-largest metro areas are focusing their attention on the suburbs in those areas, as evidenced by listing views for suburbs in the month of May that surpassed the site’s views in the same category last year.

Javier Vivas, director of economic research at Realtor.com, says that although the migration to the suburbs isn’t a new trend, it’s accelerating due to conditions resulting from the pandemic.

“After several months of shelter-in-place orders,” Vivas told Realtor Magazine, “the desire to have more space and the potential for more people to work remotely are likely two of the factors contributing to the popularity of the burbs.”

Redfin reported that page views of homes for sale in towns with less than 50,000 residents saw a traffic increase of 87 percent year over year in May—almost four times the 22 percent yearly increase in page views of homes in cities with over 1 million residents.

However, Redfin Economist Taylor Marr says that page views don’t necessarily translate to actual buyer movement. “While there has been a huge increase in the number of people looking online at homes in small towns,” she said, “the long-term impact of the pandemic on people actually moving from one part of the country to another remains to be seen.”

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