suburban real estate

Katy, Texas – Home to a restored train depot, heritage museum and outlet mall. Nothing out of the ordinary; however, this quiet suburb, located 32 minutes from downtown Houston, has earned a newfound claim to fame. It’s gained more than 4,400 residents since February 2020 – the start of the pandemic – the most of any city or town in the U.S.

Katy is one of several Texas towns leading the country in population growth.

Meanwhile in New York City – The City That Never Sleeps – an estimated 110,000 people have fled the city in recent months, marking the largest drop off in residents of any one location in the country. That’s a 487 percent increase – or five times the rate – when compared to the number of residents who left Manhattan and Brooklyn in 2019.

Are we in the midst of a great migration from city to suburb?

Is all of this just a coincidence? We’ve discussed the big city to suburb migration extensively, but now, we have the information to validate these assumptions. Change-of-address (COA) data from the United States Postal Service (USPS®) reveals similar movements – temporary and permanent — from densely populated areas to sprawling suburbs or smaller communities.

15.9 million people have moved during the pandemic, up almost 4% from 2019

There’s no denying it: people are moving from the hustle and bustle of city life for in quiet, spacious suburbia. Time will tell though if those interim moves become permanent.

So much of life has changed over the course of 2020 — how we work and how we live. With mortgage interest rates hitting record lows, coupled with loan opportunities and a demand for more property and more space, homeownership has become quite the attractive option to tight living quarters, such as an apartment or shipping containers it’s a thing.

New home sales are up more than 32% year over year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD

Perhaps you’re seeing an influx in clients who are looking for a move out of large metropolitan area. They may see this as waving the white flag – having to surrender the thrill and excitement of city life for uninteresting suburbia and Wally Cleaver – for our Leave It To Beaver fans.

Not anymore – these aren’t the suburbs of the 1950’s with cookie-cutter housing.

“Boring suburbia” is one of many stereotypes that have stuck with suburbs for decades, which couldn’t be further from the truth. And so, if you have clients on the fence about becoming a suburbanite and owning a home, they may need some clarification regarding the following suburbia stereotypes:

“The suburbs aren’t cool”

Moving to the suburbs means giving in to a repetitious, mundane lifestyle, right? Not even close.

Suburban areas are friendly, engaging communities where neighbors truly care for one another. Your suburbs are also made up of city transplants that are eager to reach out and make new friends. And there’s no shortage of socializing opportunities to be had. Today’s suburbs are micro-cities with plenty of entertainment, food, shopping and recreational activities to choose from.

“Culture doesn’t exist in the suburbs”

Remember, suburbs are full of city transplants that bring with them interests and hobbies. It’s a melting pot that comes together and shares similarities and experiences new passions. Just because you’re not downtown, doesn’t mean your clients can’t interact with culture. Suburbs are home to museums, theaters, the arts, foundations, and so much more.

“Suburbs are much cheaper than the city”

Not necessarily. With more people looking to escape city centers for sprawling suburbs combined with a shortage of available units, home prices are on the rise.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, listing prices in suburban areas have outpaced cities, as people look for ample space. In cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago, there’s been a large migration of residents from those areas to the suburbs, and as we know, the higher the demand, the higher the cost of homeownership.

“Commuting to the city is going to be a nightmare”

26 minutes is the average commute time to and from work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At some point, people will return to their workplaces, meaning hours lost each week sitting in traffic. However, living in the suburbs doesn’t have to mean sacrificing time in the car yelling obscenities at the guy in front of you.

Many city suburbs are interconnected through efficient public transportation systems, such as buses and trains. Additionally, many places score high in walkability and feature bike lanes for a smooth commute. If a client is looking for a shorter commute, nearly a quarter of all U.S. jobs are in the suburbs, making a career change that much easier to be closer to home.

From NYC to Katy, Texas and everywhere in between, the pandemic has reshaped our way of living. Bustling downtowns are quiet, while sleepy suburbs are waking up with new energy. There’s always been a great divide between cities and their counterpart suburbs, but in all reality, they’ve always been similar – with one key difference — some extra space to grow.

*Not all borrowers will qualify. Contact us for more information on fees and terms. Not intended as legal, financial, or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

“Average One-Way Commuting Time by Metropolitan Areas.” United States Census Bureau. December 2017.

Bowman, Cynthia. “Coronavirus Moving Study: People Left Big Cities, Temporary Moves Spiked In First 6 Months of COVID-19 Pandemic.” MyMove. October 2020.

“Mortgage Rates Continue to Trend Down.” FreddieMac. October 2020.