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Economic Perspective: Moving to the ‘Burbs?

NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences professor Dr. Mike Walden working in a recording studio.


“Today’s topic looks at moving to the ‘burbs. Mike, many cities have had tough times during the pandemic with high infection and death rates. Do we have any evidence that this is having any impact on where people now choose to live?”


“We do. The data are now showing that people are increasingly moving to the suburbs. This is pushing up rents and home prices in the suburbs, and it’s causing those same factors to perhaps decline in the central cities. I think there are two big reasons for this turnaround.”

“One is that people are now working at home more. More people are staying home to work, and they want more space. They want more elbow room. They don’t have to worry about the commute to work. So they find the factors they want more in the suburbs than in the central cites, and also even with the increases in rents and costs prices – prices for homes, prices for apartments, prices for condos, et cetera – are still lower in the suburbs than in the cities.”

“So you get a twofer here. People who want more elbow room, they find that in the suburbs, and people want to decrease their cost for housing. They find that also in the suburbs. Plus, you put this on top of the fact that there was already a trend to the suburbs pre-pandemic with older millennials partnering, marrying and having children. They want that extra space. They’ve also been moving to then suburbs.”