- A report from online real-estate marketplace Zillow suggests that there hasn’t been a big outflow of urban residents moving to the suburbs during the pandemic in most of America, although there have been widely publicized reports of a short-term flight to rural areas during the pandemic.
- However, San Francisco is an outlier, as it has had a huge spike in the number of homes listed on the market since February.
- The Zillow report suggested that this is largely from a huge number of San Franciscans trying to sell their homes without a similar uptick in people looking to buy in the city.
- One chart makes clear that the inventory of homes on the market has shot up in San Francisco, compared to other cities of a similar size.
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One of the big questions facing the real estate market in the coronavirus era is whether Americans will flee large, dense cities for theoretically more social-distancing-friendly suburbs.
According to a recent report from online real-estate marketplace Zillow, housing markets across the country haven’t seen a huge outflux from central cities to suburbia, with both urban and suburban markets acting similarly to each other across a variety of housing market metrics since the start of the pandemic.
However, San Francisco represents a big outlier in one metric: Housing inventory, or the number of homes on sale, within the city of San Francisco proper has skyrocketed by 96% since February, wildly different from similar housing markets like Miami, Boston, and Washington, DC. That spike in the central city hasn’t been matched by a shift in homes on the market elsewhere in the San Francisco metro area:
Zillow said the increase in available housing inventory in San Francisco is largely due to a lot of residents trying to sell their houses without a commensurate increase in buyers. The authors wrote, “relatively higher inventory has different causes by city, and is not clearly attributable to either supply or demand. In San Francisco, though, the softening is clear as sellers inundate the market and buyers have not changed their pace to match — newly pending sales in the city are up only 1.7% YoY.”
The big jump in homeowners trying to sell in the city proper is consistent with an upswing in people looking for homes in less densely populated parts of northern California. Business Insider’s Katie Canales reported in June that real-estate agents have seen a spike in demand for high-end houses in the Napa Valley and other less-urban regions in the Bay Area.