Coronavirus spikes interest in migrating to these suburbs

As everyone continues to hunker down for the foreseeable future, planning to relocate feels like a luxury from a pre-coronavirus life.

It’s no surprise that over the past few weeks our web traffic and overall business volume have fallen off a cliff. People are interested in staying in their homes right now, not moving to new homes.

But amongst all the low numbers there has been one surprising trend; a noticeable uptick in searches for moves to mid-sized cities and suburban areas.

When we compare the last 3 weeks of searches on our moving cost calculator to all of the 2019 search data we get some surprising results.

Stillwater, Oklahoma located outside Oklahoma City, saw an incredible 105% increase in searches over the past 3 weeks compared to all of 2019. Roseville, California and Statesboro, Georgia saw 86% and 83% increases.

The increased interest in certain areas begs the question… in a post coronavirus world where major cities look like hotbeds for the next pandemic, will people start favoring smaller cities and suburbs?

Let’s look at some of the areas that saw the biggest increases:

City/Combined Statistical Area % Change
Stillwater, OK +105%
Roseville, CA +86%
Statesboro, GA (Savannah-Hinesville-Statesboro, GA) +84%
Des Moines, IA +76%
Durango, CO +73%
Ellensburg, WA +71%
Jefferson, GA (Atlanta–Athens-Clarke–Sandy Springs) +65%
Lewisburg, TN (Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro, TN) +53%
Columbus, OH +35%
Dunn, NC (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC) +23%
Minneapolis, MN +22%
Indianapolis, IN +19%

While the numbers only reflect people searching, not actually moving, the steep increases in search volume around these areas could suggest a coming change in migration trends post coronavirus.

The Washington Post has already noted some immediate changes in a recent article; “…millions have been on the move, a mass migration that looks urgent and temporary but might contain the seeds of a wholesale shift in where and how Americans live.”

Many major cities were already experiencing net migration outflows due to housing shortages, high cost of living, and general overcrowding. It’s hard to say whether or not coronavirus could be the catalyst for a more aggressive trend toward suburbia.

Like most things with this virus, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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