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What COVID-19 has done for Rural America Real Estate Sales

On June 02, 2021, Freddie Mac posted an article titled “Rural Home Purchases Outpaced Urban Purchases Through the 2010s.” 

The effects of COVID-19 have been especially challenging for businesses, hospitals, law enforcement and other first line caregivers around the world. But those effects will always be viewed as historically bad. People became ill and many died. The way of life as we know it has come to a halt. In fact, one could say we went back in time, a time with fewer amenities, diminished social life, and a heightened awareness of “family.”

Life and work at home became one. Even school was taught in the home. This new reality created more than just a sense of isolation, but also a sense of what we would want if we had to survive this again. One of the changes the real estate marketplace observed was that for the first time since the new millennium, suburban home sales overtook urban home sales.

HMDA data show that between 2010 and 2019 there was a 5% decline in urban home sales, urban area sales remained the same and rural area sales increased from 17% to 21%.

Redfin, a technology-powered broker, states that the number of homes for sale in suburban areas fell 38.4% compared to January 2020.

"The scarcity of rural and suburban homes for sale is driving the overall housing supply shortage. Many homeowners are staying put, and homes in those neighborhoods are snapped up as soon as they're listed for sale," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. "Homes in rural and suburban areas remain popular as the pandemic and remote work continues to motivate buyers to prioritize indoor and outdoor space over commute times and urban amenities."

As stated by PR Newswire, Homes in suburban areas are selling fastest, and homes in rural areas are selling nearly a month faster than last year. The median home-sale price in rural areas rose 16% year over year to $290,592, not quite as big as the 17.7% peak annual increase in November.

Redfin data also shows a significant desire for rural living even after vaccinations have taken place. "Some of the initial boom in homebuyer interest in rural areas was driven by people daydreaming about an escape from densely packed cities at the height of the pandemic," said Redfin economist Taylor Marr. "But views of homes in rural areas remain well above pre-pandemic levels, and some of that interest has translated into a surge of home sales in rural areas."

What this tells us is we may have actually hit a “new normal.” The simpler things in life have brought new meaning to our goals and our plans. Businesses have also discovered they can be successful with a team of remote workers, connected from all parts of the country and globe. Although I don’t think we’re ready to turn in our cars for a team of horses, we are witnessing a new paradigm, maybe even a utopia.

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