What home buyers wanted during COVID
During COVID, we saw an exodus from large cities and buyers looking for more space, in less expensive areas. The sudden ability (for many) to work remotely had people considering areas that previously were not options. The ability to host extended family and have outdoor entertaining space also became key criteria. Convertible space was also in great demand. Now that the pandemic, at least in the US, is considered “under control”, how are those buyer preferences affected? “Home” has become much more than just a place to sleep for a large portion of the population. Real estate predictions suggest that many of those new found values will remain strong home buyer priorities.
An eye to the future
Now that we know that workplaces, restaurants and entertainment venues are reopening, some buyers are a bit cautious about trading the city for the suburbs. While living in a small space with little or no private outdoor area drove many people to seek a more spread out, suburban lifestyle, some people wonder if that preference will continue. Especially considering the spike in home prices, some people are pausing to consider the long term investment value of a suburban property. Will the trend toward non-city living continue? Or will they soon tire of not being close to dining, shopping, museums, public transportation, etc. and find that they can’t easily sell their suburban homes?
Hybrid work model
While some employers may require a return to work with no flexibility, the expectation is that most will allow some kind of hybrid model. Therefore, a large percentage of people who left cities may never move back. The cost of living is often lower and once you’ve become used to having extra space (guest room, office space, home gym, closet space, etc.), it can be challenging to go back. Even if commuting a day or two a week is necessary, most people are willing to travel further if it’s not everyday. It seems unlikely that we will see a boomerang effect where lots of people move back to large, expensive cities.
Trends to watch
Not everyone moved to suburbia during the pandemic. One trend, which is expected to continue, is a move from expensive large cities to less expensive smaller ones. These cities, for many, proved a perfect fit. They were still cities, with plenty of services and activities but with lower costs of living and somewhat larger homes for the same dollar. We also saw more people make “nearby” moves, within about 150 miles, than major, cross-country moves. Moving nearby is less disruptive as far as culture shock and local friends and family aren’t suddenly hundreds or thousands of miles away. Staying connected (and not only virtually) has emerged as an important consideration in home buying. For more on what to expect, click here.
If you are relocating to the Philadelphia/Main Line area, please go to my relocation tab. If you’d like to read other blog entries related to relocation, please scroll down a couple of lines from here and click on RELOCATION (to the right of FILED UNDER). Thanks!