The Great COVID Migration: Market Trends and Impacts on Homebuyers and Sellers

At the Side x Side virtual forum, real estate experts discussed today’s most pressing market trends and how they’re impacting buyers and sellers.  Side invited three wonderful partners from Texas and California to take part in this conversation.

Cindy Hamann, Founder of Integrity Texas Properties
Brad Bevers, Founder of Legend Real Estate
Dustin Cheatham, Founder of Upside Real Estate 

Setting the Stage

The focus of this conversation was preparing for the impending “market reshuffle.”

In 2020, everyone had to adjust according to ‘new normals.’ Remote work, virtual business, separated teams… the list goes on. While adapting was certainly a challenge, employers and employees alike learned valuable lessons that they can integrate into their updated business models. 

For example, employers realized that their teams were getting a lot more work done at home than they were at the office. Employees realized that they were really enjoying working from home, without the stresses of commuting back and forth.

This is what started the Great COVID Migration. Looking ahead, everyone will be seeking balance in the post-pandemic environment. 

Key Takeaways 

1- WHAT’S HAPPENING? COVID is impacting what buyers and sellers are looking for, as well as how they’re prioritizing their wants and needs. 

After experiencing massive changes to everyday life, buyers and sellers are approaching the real estate market with new considerations. This has sparked a trend where families living in city centers are heading from high-density housing into the suburbs.

People no longer need to live close to the office. Instead, they are looking for properties that deliver the lifestyle they want. 

2 - WHAT TRENDS ARE IMPACTING REAL ESTATE? Work-from-home has led homebuyers to seek properties with more space. 

Homebuyers are seeking single-family homes in suburban locations. Buyers who want to go rural are seeking acreage properties. 

These suburban and rural properties give people access to more space, both inside the home and on the surrounding land. As a result, people have more room for an at-home office, schoolroom, and whatever else they may need. Buyers are moving to different areas as a result. 

“We have people in California leaving the Bay Area and are looking at communities like Chico, Redding, and Sacramento with lower costs of living and much cheaper housing. 

In our area, you can buy an $800,000 home and you're looking like the Kardashians. Our average sale price is $425,000 for a single-family home. So it's really not that hard to move up to Chico or Northern California and really substantially move up your quality of home.” - Dustin Cheatham 

3 - HOW ARE SELLERS RESPONDING? City-dwellers are selling their homes and opting for rural properties with greater access to land. 

For many people, the only way to go now is out of the major cities. Agents are seeing more and more clients move to the suburbs and rural areas. Our panel discussed the increased access to e-commerce all around the nation as a strong driver of this trend.
“Buyers are looking for something a little bit different with more space outside of the city. And as those amenities have grown in the rural areas, Amazon Prime and access to things, living in the country, isn't what it used to be. So people are more and more comfortable moving further out these days.” - Bradley Bevers. 

4 - HOW ARE BUYERS RESPONDING? Budgeting and maintenance considerations are top-of-mind for buyers who are considering rural properties. 

Buyers who are interested in moving to rural properties need to be aware of the maintenance and upkeep requirements.

“There are a lot of things to learn (when moving into a rural area for the first time.) Septic, propane, internet… When you live in the city, there are so many things you’ve never even thought about. 

These are some of the things that the consumer doesn't understand. So, when they're talking about buying a farm and ranch, we also want to talk to them about how big do you want your farm to be? Or, are you planning to live out here or is this going to be something for weekends?

People don't even think about fencing and cross-fencing and all of those things that you have to prepare for whether it's a farm or a ranch. There are all these other considerations that come along with it.” - Cindy Hamann 

Agents need to talk to their buyers about these challenges regarding maintenance and budgeting so they are fully aware of the real estate decision they’re about to make. 

Huge thanks to Cindy, Bradley, and Dustin for sharing your insight with us. These market trends are having an immediate impact on how you do business. As a top agent, you know it’s important to understand how changes in the way buyers and sellers think, how they manage the real estate process, and how these things affect your business today. 

We hope this overview gave you some good insight into what’s happening across the country and would love to hear from you on what you’re seeing in your neck of the woods. Visit the Side business page on Facebook to share what you’re seeing!

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