A recent market report from Zillow has found that urban and suburban housing markets in the US haven’t actually diverged all that much as a result of this pandemic. Despite what you might be reading in the news, Zillow’s national listing data does not seem to suggest that an urban exodus might be underway. Suburban and rural home listings are seeing about the same attention (views) as they were last year. And the rates of appreciation seem to be holding. As of June, annual home value growth was 4.3% for urban areas and 4.1% for suburban areas.
There are, however, some exceptions and local nuances. Rents in urban zip codes have fallen more compared to their suburban counterparts. This seems to make intuitive sense given that I would have expected demand to be less from young professionals, students, and immigrants. Many cities probably also saw a bunch of their short-term rental inventory flip over to the long-term rental market (how much, I don’t know). But my view is that this will prove to be a short-term phenomenon.
There are also some markets that have performed quite differently. San Francisco is one of those cases. The city proper has seen home prices fall 4.9% and inventory (listings) increase by 96% year-over-year. This is a massive outlier. If I were to speculate as to why this is the case, it would be that (1) this was brewing even before COVID-19 and (2) the tech community is perhaps more convinced of this whole working from home thing. Why remain in expensive San Francisco? It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. For a full copy of Zillow’s urban-suburban market report, click here.