More Buyers Eyeing Property in the Suburbs

The housing market began to bounce back in May, but new data released today by realtor.com® shows that consumers are showing an increasing preference for suburban and rural areas as they return to the market. In May, online listing views on realtor.com® in suburban ZIP codes grew by 13 percent, nearly doubling the pace of growth of urban areas.

While time on market has slowed nationally due to complications surrounding deal closings during the pandemic, suburban and rural markets are seeing lower increases due to strong consumer interest. Time on market increased by 25 percent in rural areas, 30 percent in suburban areas and 35 percent in urban areas year-over-year. This represents the widest gap in percent change since realtor.com® started tracking the metric in 2016.

More than half (54) of the nation's 100 largest metros are seeing increased interest in the suburbs. Suburban listing views in May 2020 exceeded those from May 2019, as well as the start of the year. Out of the nearly 20,000 ZIP codes tracked in realtor.com®'s Hottest Market rankings, suburban ZIP codes saw a median jump of 404 spots, while rural ZIPs saw a median jump of 846 spots. Hottest Markets are determined by popularity (online listing views) and time on market.

This migration to the suburbs is not a new trend, but it has become more pronounced this spring.After several months of shelter-in-place orders, the desire to have more space and the potential for more people to work remotely are likely two of the factors contributing to the popularity of the burbs.

For the past several years, it's been common to see suburban areas outpace urban areas in growth of views per property. However, May marks the second largest discrepancy since realtor.com® started tracking the metric in 2016. Views per property in rural and suburban ZIP codes were up an average of 16 and 13 percent, year-over-year respectively. Views per property in urban areas were up 7 percent year-over-year on average.

Suburban interest typically peaks during the summer, as families look to move before the start of the school year. However, suburban interest in May outpaced last year's July peak, which could indicate even stronger interest in the suburbs as the summer homebuying season continues to heat up.