Coronavirus spikes interest in small-town real estate: Redfin

More homebuyers seek to escape urban crowds

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The coronavirus pandemic appears to have many Americans reconsidering where they want to live.

Real estate firm Redfin said in a blog post Thursday that it’s seen “an exceptionally higher rate” of interest in homes located in small towns with populations under 50,000 compared to a year ago and even compared to last month.

Redfin reported seeing a 105 percent year-over-year increase in page views of listings in small towns during the week that ended May 1, up from an 85 percent increase a month earlier.

NEW HOME LISTINGS PLUNGED IN APRIL

There had been an even larger surge of interest in rural areas with a population under 10,000 in a county. Redfin saw a 170 percent increase in page views the week ending April 1, but that interest has slowed to a 76 percent year-over-year increase more recently.

Homes in urban metro areas saw a much smaller increase of just 16 percent for the week ending May 1, compared to a 13 percent decline a month earlier.

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“During the first month of the pandemic, interest in rural areas skyrocketed while interest in cities fell, with many urbanites dreaming of packing up and heading for the hills,” Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr said in the blog post.

And while pending home sales are down all over, less populated areas haven’t been hit as hard as large cities, according to Redfin.

Home for sale (iStock)

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It isn’t just the sales market that’s seen a boost. Real estate professionals told FOX Business in March they’d seen an influx of wealthy New Yorkers escaping the city for high-end rentals in areas like the Hamptons and Westchester County in New York and Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

FOX Business’ Jeanette Settembre contributed to this report.

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