In the middle of a pandemic that upended our lives and livelihoods, a record number of people in the United States looked to make a move. Whether it was because their needs had changed, they were looking for something different out of their living space, or they just wanted to try some new scenery, Americans moved for a variety of reasons.
Current events have caused people to rethink not only what they are looking for in a home, but whether homeownership is right for them in the first place. And those buying homes seem to be moving outward. Outward — that is — to the suburbs of their own core metro area, but also farther out, to satellite cities or even other major urban centers in neighboring regions.
In a time of uncertainty and rising home prices, why this urban/suburban shuffle? There are four main reasons why Americans are moving right now.
A Desire to Own
Despite economic uncertainty during the pandemic, more people were able to take advantage of low mortgage rates. Renters saw that it was a great time to get more home for their money, just when they needed it most, and were able to go from renting to owning.
Whether or not COVID was an influencing factor in their decision on where to move, it’s clear that desires for ownership, as well as desiring lifestyle changes and improved quality of life, were major motivating factors.
Working From Home
Directly related to the quality of life concern are the other three reasons why Americans are making moves right now.
With a new perspective on homeownership, people are reconsidering where they need to live and what would make a good home environment for them and their families. As remote work has become the new norm and looks to stay viable for the foreseeable future, many have discovered that they don’t need to live so close to the office anymore — and they can get more for their money if they move a little further outside of the city limits.
People see remote work as an opportunity to relocate to where they want and where they can afford to live, so the change in work patterns during the COVID pandemic sparked a residential migration.
While work may be remote, people still need space to do it from within their homes. But working at the dining room table — or converting a guest room when there was one — wasn’t always an easy fix. This led people to look for larger homes with more space to spread out, do work and activities at home, and spend family time together/apart.
Whether it may be finding space for a home gym, hobbies, study/work areas, or even just to feel like the world wasn’t caving in on them, people were motivated to move for roomier, more spacious abodes.
The need for wide-open spaces extends to the outdoors, too.
Not only did Americans want homes with yards so their families would be able to stay safe apart from others, but they also preferred privacy while their outdoor activities increased.
Top living trends for the year included backyard swimming pools, streaming outdoor exercise classes, and cooking and dining outdoors. Gardening also saw a resurgence in popularity as millions of people began tending to their yards and edible gardens during the pandemic, keeping away from grocery stores and supplementing pantries with homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
While most urban areas have fewer homes with large yards, this desire for outdoor living space led to a migration farther into suburbs and rural areas.
Whether it was a general change in lifestyle or a financial factor that motivated the great migration of 2020/2021, the bottom line is that Americans desired more space — inside and out — and may have finally enjoyed more favorable lending rates to achieve and accommodate their changing needs.
And these factors are still in play! If making a move is on your list for these reasons, or any other, contact LIST WITH ELIZABETH® to find your new home in one of our excellent Northern Virginia areas.