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Less Dense Areas Remain Most Popular for Buyers

Market Data + Trends

Less Dense Areas Remain Most Popular for Buyers

August 4, 2021
Photo: John Takai |

The National Association of Realtors says the uncertainty of the delta variant’s impact, remote work, and starting families are three big factors influencing homebuyers’ decisions on where to live. These influences have pushed many buyers into outlying counties where housing demand is more robust than central counties. A central county holds a substantial portion of an urbanized area while an outlying county has commuting ties to the central county. Both types of counties are performing well overall, but there’s faster price appreciation in outlying counties and fewer days a listing stays on the market.

In June, the median listing price in outlying counties rose 12% from one year ago, while the median listing price in central counties rose at a slower pace of 7.8%. The median price appreciation of listing prices has decelerated in the central counties while the pace of price appreciation in outlying counties rebounded in June after a slight deceleration in May to 9.8%.

In fact, the median listing price in the outlying counties was slightly higher at $303,700 compared to the median listing price of $301,400 in central counties. The median listing price per square foot is also higher in the outlying counties, at $151/square feet compared to $147/square feet in the central counties.

Fewer days on market in outlying counties. Properties in both central and outlying counties are selling at about half the pace compared to one year ago, but properties are selling a day faster in outlying counties, at 34 days, compared to 35 days in the central counties. One year ago, the median days on market in outlying counties was 78 days, a day faster than in the central counties.

Active listings are down in both central and outlying counties while pending listings are up. The typical number of homes that are actively listed on any given day in a month are down 45% in both central and outlying counties, indicating a severe lack of supply in both areas.

On the other hand, pending listings are up in both central and outlying counties, with a slightly higher rate of increase of 5.1% in central counties compared to outlying counties, at 4.5%.

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