The work-from-home trend is prompting city- dwellers to pack up shop and move to the
suburbs, where homes are both bigger and less expensive. Take smaller market Chula Vista as an example: The city with a population of approximately 270,000 saw unusually strong buyer demand push active listings down 54 percent year-over-year in August as home prices jumped 11.4 percent.
“Instead of living in a large building with shared ventilation and little space, people now want a larger home, a yard and a pool,” Dwiggins says. Urban flight has been gradually occurring over the past five years, but the pandemic has accelerated that trend. Overall, 43 percent of potential home buyers say the pandemic has made them more likely to look in rural
towns and city suburbs instead of dense city centers, according to an NAR-sponsored survey.
But don’t discount the draw of the big cities just yet. “I think urban flight is overstated,” says Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.’s former chief economist (Appleton-Young retired in December). “There will always be people who, given the option, will want to live in a denser environment.”