Large real estate markets in big cities could see a comeback.
The latest monthly pageviews report from online real estate company Refin shows a 200% year-over-year increase in cities in October, making it the largest so far this year.
The corresponding increase in rural areas was even larger at 235%, but fell to its peak of 273% in August.
These trends are noteworthy as they could be leading indicators that the wave of people leaving cities has peaked. The availability of low-interest funding, more limited supply outside of large metropolitan areas, advances in vaccine development, and reports of rising infection rates, including in rural areas, may be some of the reasons.
In the four weeks ending November 8, the number of homes for sale decreased 40.9% in rural areas and 31.9% in suburban areas. In large cities, that number fell by only 14.5%. Major metro listings rose 13.7% over the same period, compared to 13.4% in suburban and just 8.8% in rural markets.
"Rural areas and small towns are still desirable – especially for families who need remote work space due to the ongoing pandemic – but record-low mortgage rates are motivating people to search even in cities," Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said in a press release. "Many shoppers keep their fingers crossed that restaurants, bars and shops could get back to business in the next year and they want to invest in resurging cities."
There are questions about whether or not pageviews result in actual transactions, and the year-over-year increase in outstanding sales remains stronger for rural and suburban markets than for large cities. In the four-week period ending November 8, these were 37.4%, 36% and 26.1%, respectively.