Agents and brokers need to keep an eye on the suburbs in 2018 – that area that has the feel of an urban area, with walkability to great retail and restaurants from a house or apartment, and it’s what all the real estate trend predictors are talking about.

This has led to the development of a new term: Surban.

“Surban” is defined as a suburban area that has the feel of urban; it is a blend of the best of urban and suburban life. Urban planners would previously have described these as “mixed-use” areas, but surban is a relatively new term that fits a bit better.

Suburban areas are located in in suburban, not urban areas. They are anchored in areas with highly-rated schools and low crime rates. They also are dominated by a number of housing options, from single-family residences to condos to townhomes and are generally surrounded by great retail and shopping areas in walkable distance.

A key attraction for millennials, they are highlighted with social venues such as restaurants, bars and entertainment.

According to a survey by The Urban Land Institute, these areas will draw at least 80 percent of the coming wave of households and will attract the most families in the next 10 years.

Today, suburban downtown areas are popping up throughout the country. Though Reston wasn’t the only place developing the blueprint for “surban” developments, it is often referred to as one of the most successful influencers.

According to many experts, surban developments will replace shopping centers. More retail stores will become places that sell experiences rather than goods, and more development will combine housing and retail to satisfy consumer demand for sites that offer convenient car-free shopping. Suburban office demand will also return. As Gen X and millennials move into more senior management roles and start families, many will move from urban cores to the suburbs to live in areas with good schools, but which are also near employment hubs and entertainment and recreational amenities. They will be willing to share space and work remotely.

As an agent or broker, how can you take advantage of this new trend?

First, identify the current and potential surban areas in your market; become familiar with them.

Agents and brokers also should educate themselves on the potential for surban living. It’s important to understand that the real power behind this trend is the attention of buyers to amenities and lifestyle, rather than the traditionally marketed features of a home in real estate. Develop and implement a better system of marketing lifestyle and amenities.

Moreover, take advantage of social media to promote and recognize the surban communities in your area.
Finally, consider what else you can do to become a real estate leader as this unique movement continues to grow.