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Urban Flight May Spur a Suburban Makeover

Market Data + Trends

Urban Flight May Spur a Suburban Makeover

November 12, 2020
Photo: trongnguyen

With urban flight still underway, the suburbs may be quickly changing. Leaving cities for suburbs is no new trend, but the pandemic pushed the urgency and timing up for many renters and homeowners. According to, the suburbs have been viewed as mainly White, but are becoming increasingly diverse with the help of Millennials and immigrants. The most recent wave of homebuyers are mainly older Millennials, families, and Gen X couples, who will affect the pace of change in the suburbs. One change that could come are ex-urbanites wanting to recreate city amenities in their new neighborhoods by becoming involved in local groups and commissions.

"The suburbs are going to change," says McMahon. "You're going to see more parks and green space in the suburbs, because people are more interested in running and health-inducing activities. ... You're going to see a lot more housing choices."

Over the past few years, he's seen dull office parks reimagined as shared workspaces—with housing, dining, and entertainment in the same complex. Zoning changes could allow more housing to go up in the town's retail and dining centers. Popular businesses, like food halls and bars offering pingpong tables and video games, could move in.

Experts expect different kinds of housing to rise to meet the growing demand. That could add more affordable options, such as townhouses, duplexes, and condo buildings to towns made up of seas of single-family houses with crisp, green lawns.

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