Homebuyer Demand Shifts Toward Less Dense Rural Markets

April 20, 2020
view across front lawn of rural home with nearby stream
By EvgeniiAnd

As the highly transmittable coronavirus rips through communities across America, an increasing number of homebuyers are trading city dreams for country life. The driving factor? Urban areas have been hit the hardest so far due to their dense populations. This uptick in rural interest is a huge shift from prior preferences for urban houses, according to Glenn Kelman, the CEO of Redfin. Along with the rise of virtual tours, this is just one more way the coronavirus is reshaping the housing industry. 

The CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin said Friday that demand for homes has shifted to rural areas as people react to the coronavirus pandemic and look to move out of dense urban areas.

“We have seen that people are more interested in that house at the foot of the mountains by the lake,” Glenn Kelman said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “Rural demand is much stronger right now than urban demand, and that’s a flip from where it’s been for the longest time, where everybody wanted to live in the city. We’ll see how it comes back, but there seems to be a profound, psychological change among consumers who are looking for houses.” 

The coronavirus pandemic has led to ballooning unemployment in the United States, and construction has paused in many cities across the country. Governors in many states, including in the northeastern part of the country, have extended their orders for staying at home into mid-May. 

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