August 17, 2020
If you were preparing to plant a “for sale” sign in front of your suburban home in anticipation of all those city dwellers fleeing the coronavirus pandemic, you might need to push pause, based on results of a survey fielded recently by Yahoo Finance and The Harris Poll. .
With lockdowns and restrictions easing up in some cities, 74% of city based respondents to the poll say that they are likely to stay put, the pollsters say—despite the ongoing health crisis—while just 26% say they are somewhat or very likely to relocate.
The apparent change of heart comes as restaurants and some other businesses reopen after many shuttered their doors in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In May, 60% of those living in cities said they wanted to remain where they were—significantly fewer than the number saying they’d likely stay put in the latest poll taken from July 31 through Aug. 3.
Generations Y and Z, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, were the group that most wanted to pack up for the suburbs, with 44% of them thinking about such a move. That’s compared to nearly 30% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 who said they would probably leave the city, and roughly 10% of those 45 and older who were considering the same.
Income also played a key role in who was contemplating a move to the suburbs. Roughly 35% of city residents who earned an annual salary of $100,000 or more said they wanted to leave, compared to 19% of their neighbors who earned less than $50,000 a year. And a third of those surveyed who were working said they would probably head to the suburbs, while 16% of those who were unemployed planned to do the same.
“Wealthier households have greater mobility within the housing market due to higher ownership rates and access to lower mortgage rates,” Johnson said.
Children also proved to be a dividing line between those who wanted to leave cities, with nearly 40% of those who had kids saying they were at least somewhat likely to head to the suburbs, possibly in search of more space and stronger schools. Among those without children, 16% said they might leave the city.
As economic uncertainty lingers and the coronavirus surges in hot spots across the U.S., it remains to be seen how moving patterns will ultimately shake out.
“It’s too early to predict the macro changes to housing in urban, suburban and rural communities,’’ Johnson said. “Although intentions to leave the city have dropped over (the) last three months, sentiment is different from behavior.”
Research contact: @HarrisPoll