Deurbanization Trends Driving Home Improvement Market Growth
Remote work and flexible work arrangements continue to gain traction, triggering new homebuying patterns. Buyers are relocating from higher priced metro areas to lower cost areas and moving out of cities and into the suburbs, seeking larger spaces with more amenities. “People feel like they can relocate in a way that they haven’t been able to in the past,” said one report participant. “There will be movement across housing markets that is more pronounced than before COVID. And this shift will continue for several more years as we find the new normal.”
Americans are buying farther away from some cities and traditional job centers, according to data shared by Zillow Economic Research during a U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics Webinar in March 2021. Zillow used Census data in its research surrounding COVID’s effects on local housing markets, examining how remote work might have shifted housing preferences. Economists from the real estate firm found that nearly two million renters that are unable to afford homes in metro areas could now afford to buy farther away from urban centers because they no longer had to commute to work.
The nationwide trend has been to move to the suburbs and away from urban city centers, according to findings from a February 2021 analysis of population growth trends by FreddieMac, which found that 60% percent of all metro areas are experiencing more growth in the suburbs than in cities. The Millennial cohort is contributing to this trend.
“Corporate workplace trends, such as working from home, have energized the suburban housing markets. Even employees who will work from home only one or two days a week in the future, are more open to suburban and exurban living,” says Mark Sikes, principal with Deal Sikes, a Houston-based real estate valuation firm. “As this trend plays out, attitudes about long commutes will change and homebuyers will respond by moving farther out.”
Home Improvement and Home Environment Trends: By the Numbers
Sales of existing homes reached the highest annual level in 15 years in 2021, reported the National Association of Home Builders. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) is forecasting double-digit growth in homeowner spending on repair and remodeling activity, with annual expenditures exceeding $400 billion by Q2 2022. Turnover of existing housing stock and spending on home improvements should boost the Home Environment category as consumers look to personalize upgraded living and workspaces.
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