Pandemic Creates Renewed Interest in Suburban Housing

National housing data trends over the past few months reveal that suburban housing is regaining popularity, likely a direct result of COVID-19’s effects on daily life.

As people across the nation adjust to spending more time than ever before at home, urbanization is losing the traction it once had as the most sought-after trend in housing.

Metro-core areas saw the greatest decline in single-family home construction over the past couple of months, falling about 18% nationally in comparison to its numbers from the same time last year.  Instead, it has been small metro areas seeing the greatest growth in housing production, as suburbs are now the fastest growing geographic area for single-family construction.  According to the National Association for Home Building, small metro suburbs are up 2.3% for single-family units.  Suburbs were also the only geographic area in the United States to see a year-on-year increase after COVID-19 hit.

This data indicates an interesting preference shift amongst homebuyers amid the pandemic.  Urbanization had been strongly trending up until quarantine began, but now that the reality of life during a pandemic has settled in many Americans are reweighing the pros and cons of urban life.  With the majority of people working from home for the rest of 2020 (and for some, even past that), a small urban living space now lacks the appeal it once had to many.  As of late, homebuyers are prioritizing square-footage and a backyard over walkability and city life.

It is hard to predict whether or not this trend will continue past 2020 and the current pandemic or if people will lose interest in suburban life once things go back to normal.  For now suburban growth continues to trend strongest in national housing data, and CIRB’s most recent reports reveal that California is no exception to this movement.

Marissa Saldivar // CIRB Journalism Intern