Every year real estate migration patterns shift due to demographic changes, corporate moves, economic realities and a wide range of other factors. The COVID-19 pandemic and the work-from-home trend have resulted in many people choosing their homes and lifestyles based on personal needs rather than proximity to their workplaces.
We had already begun to see a flattening in the number of urban dwellers between 1980 and 2018 (31% of the U.S. population) and a rise in people choosing large suburban areas (21% to 25% over that time period), as detailed in a report from Pew Research. Expect to see continued changes in migration patterns as the millennial and Gen Z populations reach the homeowner stage and Boomers begin to downsize and change their lifestyles.
Where Will People Move and Invest Next Year?
According to the consulting firm, PwC, the top 10 real estate markets for 2021 are:
- Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina: The Sun Belt has been growing in popularity in recent years. The "triangle" in Raleigh/Durham is known for manufacturing and life sciences research, in addition to a comfortable climate and tech labor pool. It has overtaken Austin in popularity and migration trends.
- Austin, Texas: A strong startup culture, relatively low cost of living and a laid-back lifestyle continue to make this area extremely popular.
- Nashville, Tennessee: No longer just Music City, this urban area's housing market remained strong throughout the pandemic. Health care access and air quality are just two of the features the geography boasts.
- Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas: Leading the nation in apartment demand, this area is also home to 24 Fortune 500 companies.
- Charlotte, North Carolina: Now larger than San Francisco, Charlotte is the 15th-largest city in the U.S. People from the Northeast and Midwest choose this area due to its wide range of living options and Sun Belt lifestyle.
- Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida: By 2030, this area is expected to grow a whopping 20.5% in the population. Although still highly appealing to an older demographic, the area's job market is strong, and 20 companies with combined $1 billion revenues have their headquarters there.
- Salt Lake City, Utah: "The pandemic has supercharged Utah's housing market," declared The Salt Lake Tribune, crediting the broad range of housing options, the low-stress lifestyle and the appeal of the recreational options in the area.
- Washington, D.C., and Nothern Virginia: Government employees and national associations have contributed to this area's growth for decades. With a relatively low unemployment rate and the influx of private sector companies such as Amazon and Nestle, this area will continue to boom for a while.
- Boston, Massachusetts: Although some people choose to leave the urban area for the suburbs and exurbs, the wider metro area remains strong, with academic institutions and the tech sector among its timeless draws.
- Long Island, New York: Sales of high-end homes are booming, with the Hamptons seeing a 76% year-over-year growth rate in sales. New Yorkers are fleeing the pandemic and seeking a quieter lifestyle.
What Should Real Estate Brokers, Agents and Investors Do?
There are a few things you can do to capitalize on these hot markets. Be sure you know your markets at the deepest possible level. Use all the data available to you to assess home prices and trends at a neighborhood level. Forge strategic relationships in markets that you don't currently serve so that you can be involved in both sides of a transaction. Most importantly, continue to monitor real estate trends so that you can stay one step ahead of growth opportunities.