Is living in the big city still worth it?

As the pandemic continues with no end in sight, many Americans are considering relocating from highly populated cities to quieter suburbs with more open space. This change has already been recorded in New York, where as many as 5% of residents have already relocated, temporarily or permanently, and it is predicted that many others will follow suit.

The data thus far has been difficult to gather, but it has been estimated that over 40% of residents of New York’s wealthier neighborhoods (Upper East Side, West Village, SoHo, etc.) have relocated to other residences. This data includes students moving back home to their families, visitors going back home early, permanent residents relocating to their other residences, and so on. While it is still very early to draw any conclusions on this data, it shows a trend that other research centers have seen as well: an increased interest in moving out of cities.

Aside from residents of wealthier neighborhoods of New York, it has been surveyed that 22% of Americans relocated or know someone who relocated as a result of the pandemic. While many cite fear of another pandemic hitting, or just a prolonged pandemic period in general, many are just losing interest in living in a big bustling city altogether.

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Benefits of Rural Housing

Many Americans, especially after seeing how inefficiently this pandemic has been handled, are worried of another similar outbreak down the line. It has become increasingly appealing to make social distancing not just a habit, but a lifestyle by moving into rural housing.

Here are some of the benefits of rural living:

1. More affordable housing
The most obvious benefit to moving out of the city is the cost of living, which tends to be lower in less populated areas. This is especially appealing to millennials, who often are allured by lower costs of living in order to tackle their student debt.

The affordability crisis in big cities (mainly San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles) was already causing a decline in the growth rates of those cities for the past 4 years, however, the pandemic pushed that trend into high gear. Median home prices have now hit $680K in New York and $690K in Los Angeles.

It is expected that this pandemic will spark major changes to how businesses and facilities of higher education are run. Twitter has been a pioneer of this, offering employees the option to work from home indefinitely. Although the future is less clear for other businesses, this pandemic has been the driver of a surge in positions that allow employees to work from home and even for students to get their degrees from home.

2. Family-friendly environment
With more space and a quieter environment, the suburbs are a great place to expand your family. Rural houses are often partnered with lower crime rates, which makes them excellent choices for starting a family. More open space can also be beneficial to dog owners!

Single family homes saw a significant rise in demand within the past year from 28% to 36%, showing the rise in interest of moving to places where people are able to live more spaciously.

3. More nature/open space
Especially with social distancing orders, it can be hard to find time/space to enjoy the outdoors in the big city, and even more difficult to find open spaces of nature. Rural housing is often near parks or forests, depending on the location, and it could be a lot easier to get your daily dose of nature.

With all of those reasons in mind, it may be daunting to start the search for a new place to call home. While this process does need to be customized to each person’s preferences, here are some things to consider: price, location, transportation costs (within the city and to/from family/friends), moving costs, nature/views. It is crucial to find a location where you will be able to feel comfortable and excited. For some guidance, here is a list of cities that are gaining traction and might be a good fit for you.

St. Louis, Missouri
With a median age of 35.2, this city is perfect for young working professionals. The median house price is $115,700. It is home to Forest Park, twice as large as New York’s Central Park, and has been voted to be in the top 10 most pet-friendly cities in America by Thrillist.

Greenville, South Carolina
This town is a little more populated than the typical rural town and is home to many artists, craft breweries, and locally owned restaurants. The median home price in Greenville is $187,500 and has a cost of living about 10% lower than the national average.

Hood River, Oregon
This absolutely gorgeous little town is sometimes referred to as “Portland’s backyard”. With the median home price at $449,700, it has a significantly higher cost of living but is still affordable compared to larger coastal cities. This city would be perfect for those looking for astounding views, breweries, and mountain biking.

Final Thoughts

The appeal of rural housing can seem very attractive for many young working professionals and students about to enter the workforce. It has the potential to put you in a much more comfortable financial situation. Although the city might still sound more appealing to some, it is important to weigh all of your options before making a big move.

If you are looking for further resources to help you move out, move in, or househunt, try looking through other articles on Tellus Talk. You can find everything from how to list your property, how to safely move while in a pandemic, and even how to buy a home.

Regardless of where you plan to move, be sure to follow CDC guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus and keep yourself and your community safe.