Smaller housing markets outside of big cities are attracting homebuyers looking for affordability and good quality of life while spending more time away from the office throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Realtor.com reports.
For the third quarter of 2021, the Elkhart, IN metropolitan area rose to the top of the nation’s emerging housing markets, according to the Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index.
“It’s the affordability and small-town feel driving interest in these areas, and not just the smaller size,” says Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “They’re good places to settle down with good local jobs markets, things to do, and relatively affordable cost of living.”
As the index shows, smaller housing markets farther outside of the bigger cities—which tend to offer more affordably priced real estate—took off during the COVID-19 pandemic. They became more appealing when offices closed and many professionals began working remotely. This upended traditional decision-making over where to live as commutes became less of a factor, now that some workers don’t plan to return to their physical offices, while others may return only a few days a week.
Even buyers who return to their corporate desks may not need to commute far. The top emerging markets generally had strong economies of their own. Unemployment was lower, at 3.9% compared with 5.1% nationally, in the top 20 metros on the list.
To see the Top 10 emerging real estate markets in the third quarter of 2021 …