2. The suburban renaissance
It's not just emotional buying, real estate agents say: There are smart and strategic reasons that Americans of all ages, races and incomes are moving away from urban centers, Axios' Jennifer Kingson writes.
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 our lives and lifestyles have been permanently changed by coronavirus and that we'll need more space (indoors and out) for the long term.
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?' and 'What's the quality of life we want for our households?'" Anna DeSimone, a housing finance expert who writes guidebooks for consumers and mortgage professionals, tells Axios.
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 [or] where's the closest this-or-that," Kris Lindahl, CEO of a real estate agency in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, 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 more affordable regions like the South and the Midwest, Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, tells Axios.
Unlike in decades past, the move toward the suburbs does not 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, noting that equal access to housing in all areas is "the law of the land."
Inventory of available homes for sale — which was low even before the pandemic — has grown even scarcer, to the point that realtors are knocking on the doors of desirable homes and asking the occupants if they'd consider selling.
Go deeper: Elder millennials are fleeing to "hipsturbia"