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COVID-19 and Real Estate Trends

By The Bassford Team on July 29, 2020

There is no doubt at all that the coronavirus pandemic is greatly transforming the way that we both sell and buy homes. While the long-term effects of the ongoing health crisis is something we can in no way predict, the fact of the matter is that trends and factors that existed in February and March are no longer usable metrics when it comes to anticipating how the market will continue moving forward.

For instance, before the outbreak, the trend was for people to leave rural areas or suburban areas and migrate to cities. There were a myriad of reasons for this, but some of the biggest ones were things such as increased cultural opportunities, increased job opportunities, more diversity, and even something as simple as far more options regarding what to do on a Friday night.

Since COVID-19, all of this has changed. Now, many of the things that once made cities so attractive either don’t exist or are actually liabilities when it comes to public health. As a result, there is an increased trend for people to be searching for homes outside of cities, in less densely populated areas, where their risk of exposure is not nearly as high and where any shelter-in-place order will not massively disrupt anyone’s daily life. Backyards, long driveways, the ability to go outside without running into joggers or people walking their dogs are all attractive factors when it comes to preventing oneself from being exposed.

One of the reasons this move from the city to the country is becoming increasingly viable is due to the transformation of many jobs. While before the pandemic hit, most people found themselves obliged to travel out of their home for work – we are already seeing a massive shift in this expectation. As an increasing number of jobs move online, the need to be in a city is dropping at a fairly quick rate. Of course, there are still many jobs – particularly low-wage work and frontline work (often the same thing) – that require the workers to be in-person, which means that urban areas are far from vanishing completely, but regarding home buying and selling trends we very well might be on the verge of a sizable shift in focus.

Already we are seeing the results of this play out in a Harris Poll that shows upwards of 46% of people in cities considering a move while only 21% of rural residents are thinking along the same lines.

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