Key Highlights

  • 2020’s trend to migrate from major metros to small cities and second-home markets expected to continue
  • Smaller cities within commuting distances of larger metros in particular high demand
  • Portland OR, Sacramento CA, Colorado Springs CO and San Antonio TX only to become more popular

Two of the most important 2020 real estate trends that industry experts believe will most likely continue into 2021 are migratory shifts from dense metro areas to smaller “second” cities and beyond and wealthy buyers migrating to second homes located in their favorite holiday destinations to live long-term.

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Of course, these trends, like so many more in nearly every industry, were kick-started by the outbreak of the COVID pandemic in March of last year. The impetus for these two real estate trends has been health; the enabler for these trends has been, remote technology that makes working and learning anywhere possible anywhere for non-essential workers.

According to Jesse Knight of Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty in Portland, “The single-biggest driver for Portland real estate historically has been buyers making a lifestyle move…we have much of what larger cities do but also this beautiful setting, and nature surrounding us…(and) it’s still far and away the most affordable west coast city…” despite its lowest inventory in 30 years and an increase in average sale price of +12.7% y/y.

Buyers are flooding Sacramento, California’s capital city, for homes with both indoor and outdoor space that are more affordable than the “Million-Dollar Cities” of the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Sacramento’s luxury home market segment jumped +86% in Q3 2020 alone, according to Redfin. Kellee Bradford, an agent with Redfin, said, “It’s a good middle place to be…the weather is great, and people like being close to the Sierras where they can get away, but also easily get back to the Bay Area.”

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San Antonio TX and Colorado Springs CO, already hot markets pre-pandemic, are only getting hotter. Derell Skillman, a broker with Redfin in San Antonio, said, “There are literally 10 offers every time you put something on the market…everyone’s trying to find space for entertainment, pools and home offices.”

“COVID has made everyone reanalyze their priorities,” said Eric Scott with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Colorado Springs. “The impetus for real estate moves is that people are asking themselves what’s really the goal, and what are they trying to accomplish.” For both sellers and offers, Scott said, “…the goal is to close.”

For those looking to live in second cities and/or second homes in favored holiday destinations, anticipate stiff competition and be ready to jump with cash and/or loan financing pre-approval.

Thanks to MansionGlobal.

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