Even before the pandemic, rising housing prices were already driving urban residents to head for less-populated pastures, but the pandemic seems to have accelerated the trend. Part of the urge to move to more rural areas may come from wariness about living in the close quarters of the city, which can encourage the spread of infection. More relaxed work policies that allow telecommuting are another factor, Brad Cartier reports for Million Acres, a Motley Fool website.
As early as March, a report from real estate brokerage Redfin showed that "the seven-day average change in page views of homes in rural and small towns was up 115% and 88%, respectively. Further, the decline in pending sales was less dramatic in small towns than in urban ones," Cartier reports.
In a nationwide Harris poll conducted in early May, 37% of respondents said the pandemic made them want to live in a rural area more than 21 miles away from a major city.