In the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred city dwellers in many areas to move to the “wide open spaces” of the suburbs and beyond.
Besides providing an escape from living so close to others to reduce Covid-19 exposure, moving to smaller cities and rural areas increases the practicality of working from home. Facing a daunting commute discourages workers from living too far from their workplace. However, now that more and more people are working from home offices the majority of time, they are more willing to relocate to the suburbia or the countryside. Even if a two-hour-or-more commute is required to work in the city a few times a week, living away from crowded city life makes up for the inconvenience of the added commute time a couple times a week.
A report from My Move, an affiliate of the United States Post Office (USPS) designed to help make moving easier, indicates that nearly 16 million people moved from large cities during the pandemic. Out of that total, 14.2 million filed a permanent address form.
Besides offering “social distancing,” affordability is also a driving factor in the move to the suburbs. However, because of the surge of interest in moving from more densely populated areas, many suburban hot markets are experiencing multiple offers on single-family homes. In those cases, moves from urban areas become “lateral,” not necessarily more economical. New York and San Francisco, for instance, experienced a greater exodus than other regions during the pandemic, pushing up prices in outlying communities. Being closer to nature and experiencing more of a small-town feel are also factors driving moves to a less densely populated area.
In short, growth in the move-to-the-suburb trend varies from city-to-city depending on a variety of socio-economic factors.
For many, moving to the suburbs may have been a goal for awhile. When the pandemic hit, they decided, “The time is now.”
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