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Buyers, Renters Look to Sister Cities for More Affordable Housing

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Housing Markets

Buyers, Renters Look to Sister Cities for More Affordable Housing


July 6, 2021
family moving
Photo: Rido | stock.adobe.com

Increased freedom from the office has pushed many homebuyers and renters to seek more affordable areas, but they’re not going too far away. An increasing number of Americans are seeing the benefits of moving to their city’s sister city, a smaller metropolitan area within a two-hour drive, says John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Smaller cities still offer the benefit of proximity to bigger metros, but offer more space for your money, lower home prices and rents, and even lower taxes. Denver and Colorado Springs are one example of this, with a new-home price gap of $89,000 and a resale home price gap of $150,000.

Sister cities offer:

  • Huge savings. Sister cities sit within a two-hour drive of their larger counterpart metros and provide significant savings for both resale and new home buyers. Consider Seattle and Tacoma with 1 hour and 15 minutes drivetime between them. Buyers save roughly $304K on a resale and $167K on a new home in Tacoma, when comparing the median home values.
  • Homeownership for individuals who might otherwise rent. The lack of home supply or strained affordability in core markets have pushed many would-be buyers to rentals near their office. In contrast, homeownership remains more attainable in the sister cities because of their lower-priced homes.
  • Lower rents. It isn’t just the appeal of homeownership. Lower rents appeal to those who want to save money or spend their earnings elsewhere. Sister cities provide that opportunity.
  • Proximity supports the remote or hybrid work model. Many top employers are embracing permanent work-from-home and hybrid models for some of their team members. Remote work opportunities allow buyers to choose markets and housing that best match their desired lifestyle. Many will commute only occasionally, and we foresee large employers setting up satellite offices for their distant employees.
  • More for your money. Lower land costs in sister cities support larger lot sizes and home sizes for highly desirable private indoor and outdoor space that is difficult to find in expensive markets.


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