For generations, people have been drawn to big-city life by the irresistible lure of career opportunities, cultural riches, and the sheer excitement of rubbing shoulders with hundreds of thousands—even millions—of people doing varied and interesting things.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and suddenly, those tiny apartments, public transportation, and crowded public spaces lost their appeal. Many city dwellers fled their densely populated confines.
According to a study by MyMove.com that analyzed U.S. Postal Service data, during the first six months of the pandemic, big cities lost the most people. As an example, New York City, with the country's largest population at more than 8.5 million, experienced the highest losses. More than 110,000 residents left the city from February to July of this year. That's 487% more than the number of people who left New York during the same period in 2019. And where did many of these people relocating set their sights? Smaller towns and suburbs.
“People believe moving from the city is an isolating experience where neighbors are distant, nightlife is dull, and cultural experience is lacking,” says Lisa Collins, a licensed real estate salesperson for Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty in New York.
But that's not always the case. Below, are some of the biggest myths about buying and owning a home in the suburbs.
Myth No. 1: Real estate is less expensive in the suburbs
Historically, the average listing price of an urban home has been higher than a suburban home. But these days, don't expect to hit the suburbs for a bargain. During the pandemic, listing prices in the suburbs have actually grown at a faster rate than in cities, according to realtor.com.
Myth No. 2: The suburbs are boring
Moving to the suburbs means giving up all kinds of fun activities and resigning yourself to a boring, lonely existence in the middle of nowhere, right? Wrong! “There are lots of interesting neighbors and opportunities to meet people,” says Silverstein. “I love the quiet, and you can drive into small towns and small cities for interaction.” Also, being in the suburbs often means you're closer to the great outdoors.
Myth No. 3: There’s no culture
Leaving the big city means you're no longer down the street (or a short subway ride from) world-famous museums, Michelin-starred restaurants, and other great cultural resources. But it turns out, the suburbs give cities a run for their money. “I think many transplants are surprised with how much good food, wine, public schools, health and wellness, shopping—even high-end fashion—is right in town,” says Rehr.
Myth No. 4: The commute will be a nightmare
Those thinking of moving to the suburbs but keeping their jobs based in the city might be apprehensive about a hellish commute. It might not be as much of a slog as you'd think, though. There’s also faster job growth in the suburbs, so you might end up finding work closer to home.Some32% of U.S. jobs are in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. In addition, remote work is likely to be here to stay even after COVID-19.