Are the cities emptying out?

Much of what's most important in social trends, the things real people really do, isn't reported, especially if it doesn't fit the narrative.  So while the record-setting 21% jump in existing home sales in June made headlines, a key trend wasn't mentioned.

Millions of Americans are voting with their feet.  They're leaving the cities.  In Michigan, despite some of the nation's worst unemployment — engineered in large part by our governor — homes priced around $200,000 are often on the market for about a day.  Much more expensive homes in northern Michigan, hundreds of miles from Detroit and Grand Rapids, are also selling quickly.

Why?  Two reasons: People have found they can work from home, and they want to escape what the media portray as nonviolent protests and riots.

These same trends were discussed by Kristin Tate in an article in The Hill.  She noted that New York City real estate is down 30%.

An estimated quarter of a million New York residents will move upstate for good, while another 2 million could permanently move out of state.  More than 16,000 New York residents have already relocated to suburban Connecticut.  The preliminary figures show that New York is also losing citizens to rural New England and Florida in significant numbers.  Similar trends are happening in other large urban areas.  There is a political element within the domestic migration at play across the nation, but what is more telling is the level of movement to suburban areas and rural towns.

Over 40 percent of urbanites have browsed online for real estate, more than twice the number of people who actually live in rural areas.  Redfin reports that more than a quarter of searches on its website are by urbanites in Seattle, San Francisco, and the District of Columbia searching for homes in less populated places.  While real estate sales are down in San Francisco, where prices are falling by more than 50 percent, demand in its suburbs has been soaring, where prices are rising by almost 10 percent.

There has been a sharp uptick in interest in moving out to Montana, with the majority of new inquiries coming from California.  Real estate sales in Montana are 10 percent higher than at this time last year.  Rural Colorado, Oregon, and Maine have seen similar upticks in property sales.  Vermont is going through a renaissance in real estate, with an agent there remarking that "people are buying houses without even seeing them."

Some of the biggest changes are less obvious, yet even the hidden trends support the idea that cities are emptying out.  In March and April, over 2 million young people moved back in with their parents or grandparents.  If the allure of cities declines further due to the risk of disease, a sputtering economy, and a future of telework, the flight to suburban and rural safety will continue well after a coronavirus vaccine hits the market.

Much of what's most important in social trends, the things real people really do, isn't reported, especially if it doesn't fit the narrative.  So while the record-setting 21% jump in existing home sales in June made headlines, a key trend wasn't mentioned.

Millions of Americans are voting with their feet.  They're leaving the cities.  In Michigan, despite some of the nation's worst unemployment — engineered in large part by our governor — homes priced around $200,000 are often on the market for about a day.  Much more expensive homes in northern Michigan, hundreds of miles from Detroit and Grand Rapids, are also selling quickly.

Why?  Two reasons: People have found they can work from home, and they want to escape what the media portray as nonviolent protests and riots.

These same trends were discussed by Kristin Tate in an article in The Hill.  She noted that New York City real estate is down 30%.

An estimated quarter of a million New York residents will move upstate for good, while another 2 million could permanently move out of state.  More than 16,000 New York residents have already relocated to suburban Connecticut.  The preliminary figures show that New York is also losing citizens to rural New England and Florida in significant numbers.  Similar trends are happening in other large urban areas.  There is a political element within the domestic migration at play across the nation, but what is more telling is the level of movement to suburban areas and rural towns.

Over 40 percent of urbanites have browsed online for real estate, more than twice the number of people who actually live in rural areas.  Redfin reports that more than a quarter of searches on its website are by urbanites in Seattle, San Francisco, and the District of Columbia searching for homes in less populated places.  While real estate sales are down in San Francisco, where prices are falling by more than 50 percent, demand in its suburbs has been soaring, where prices are rising by almost 10 percent.

There has been a sharp uptick in interest in moving out to Montana, with the majority of new inquiries coming from California.  Real estate sales in Montana are 10 percent higher than at this time last year.  Rural Colorado, Oregon, and Maine have seen similar upticks in property sales.  Vermont is going through a renaissance in real estate, with an agent there remarking that "people are buying houses without even seeing them."

Some of the biggest changes are less obvious, yet even the hidden trends support the idea that cities are emptying out.  In March and April, over 2 million young people moved back in with their parents or grandparents.  If the allure of cities declines further due to the risk of disease, a sputtering economy, and a future of telework, the flight to suburban and rural safety will continue well after a coronavirus vaccine hits the market.