Americans of all ages, races and incomes are moving away from urban centers, Axios managing editor Jennifer Kingson writes from New York.
- Why it matters: Bidding wars, frantic plays for a big suburban house with a pool, buying a property sight unseen — they're all part of Americans' calculus that the virus has permanently changed our lives.
There's a gold rush in real estate across the U.S., driven by record-low mortgage rates and the dawning realization that for many of us, our homes are going to be the only place we work and play for the foreseeable future.
- The trend started in the spring when school was cancelled in many areas, and has gained steam as companies have allowed workers to continue working from home (in some cases, indefinitely) and as question marks have arisen over in-person school this fall.
- Spacious single-family homes in suburbs and exurbs are in hot demand, while rents are falling in Manhattan, where landlords are offering deals
What buyers are looking for: Fresh air, backyards, home offices (for two adults), a homeschooling area, space for pets, home gyms — plus proximity to beaches, lakes, parks and bike paths.
- "Preferences have moved from 'what's a prestigious location?' to 'what's practical?'" Anna DeSimone, a housing finance expert who writes guidebooks for consumers and mortgage professionals, tells Axios.
- Searches on real estate firm Compass' website for houses with pools are up threefold, CEO Robert Reffkin told CNBC.
As more people do their grocery and household shopping online, proximity to retail stores is no longer a real estate priority.
- "We're not hearing as much around brick-and-mortar — where's the closest this-or-that," Kris Lindahl, CEO of Kris Lindahl Real Estate, outside Minneapolis, tells Axios. "Instead it's: 'Can we get delivery here?'"
By the numbers: Existing home sales rose 20.7% in June over May, and median housing prices rose in every region of the country, according to the National Association of Realtors.
- Sales growth is particularly pronounced in the more-affordable South and Midwest, Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, tells Axios.
Unlike in decades past, the move toward the suburbs doesn't represent "white flight," but rather the work-from-home phenomenon, Yun tells Axios.
- "The people moving to the suburbs are of all races and ethnicities," Yun said.
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