City living can have its perks: easy access to nightlife, museums, and more. But a growing number of city dwellers are realizing their lifestyle of easy accessibility no longer outweighs the high cost and small space—especially as companies continue shifting to permanent remote work, according to Realtor.com. Leading the trend in ditching cities are renters and the wealthy, those who can easily change residences. Already, the most expensive cities such as San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles have experienced year-over-year price drops in rentals.
When Lauren Woulard traveled to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and then to Orlando, FL, to visit an old friend, the New York–based publicist thought she'd be back in her itty-bitty Bronx studio by the end of March. She was wrong.
Instead, Woulard, 31, wound up crashing with her friend as COVID-19 tore through New York City. By May—after working remotely for three months—she decided to make the move to Central Florida permanent. She discovered she enjoyed living in a smaller city with a slower pace of life. Finding a three-bed, 2.5-bath townhouse in East Orlando for the same $1,600-a-month price of her Bronx apartment clinched the deal. She moved in last month.