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Outlying Counties of Metro Areas Show Stronger Housing Conditions Than in Central Counties

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One main influence of the coronavirus pandemic is on the place persons are deciding to reside, work, and play. The need to reside in much less dense areas given the uncertainty of the course of the coronavirus pandemic as new variants emerge, the flexibility of individuals to do business from home and scale back journey time and prices, and the demographic increase to housing within the suburban areas as millennials proceed to kind households and lift households are all elements that play into the choice of the place folks shall be residing and shopping for a house.

ln this weblog, I take a look at housing market indicators within the outlying and central counties of metropolitan or micropolitan areas to evaluate homebuyer choice to reside within the central counties or reside farther out of the metropolitan facilities. As of June 2021, housing market indicators present outlying counties of metropolitan or micropolitan areas are experiencing extra strong housing demand in comparison with the central counties, indicating that housing demand is dispersing outwards from the central counties of metropolitan or micropolitan areas to outlying counties.

Methodology and knowledge supply (realtor.com®)

For this evaluation, I used realtor.com® dwelling listings abstract statistics in 1,000 counties, of which 883 are central counties and 114 counties are outlying counties of a metropolitan or micropolitan space based mostly on the U.S. Census Bureau March 2020 delineation.1 In line with the U.S. Census Bureau, ” a central county is a county or counties of a Core Based mostly Statistical Space (metropolitan statistical space or micropolitan statistical space) containing a considerable portion of an urbanized space or city cluster or each, and to and from which commuting is measured to find out qualification of outlying counties. An outlying county is a county that qualifies for inclusion in a core based mostly statistical space on the idea of commuting ties with the CBSA’s central county or counties.”2

Housing indicators in central and outlying counties

Dwelling listings knowledge from realtor.com® as of June 2021 signifies that housing demand in outlying counties of metropolitan areas is rising at a extra strong tempo than within the central counties, though each outlying and central counties are performing remarkably properly in comparison with pre-pandemic circumstances (February 2020).

Quicker worth appreciation in outlying counties. In June, the median itemizing worth in outlying counties rose 12% from one 12 months in the past, whereas the median itemizing worth in central counties rose at a slower tempo of seven.8%. The median worth appreciation of itemizing costs has decelerated within the central counties whereas the tempo of worth appreciation in outlying counties rebounded in June after a slight deceleration in Could to 9.8%.

In reality, the median itemizing worth within the outlying counties was barely increased at $303,700 in comparison with the median itemizing worth of $301,400 in central counties. The median itemizing worth per sq. foot can be increased within the outlying counties, at $151/sq. ft in comparison with $147/sq. ft within the central counties.

Fewer days on market in outlying counties. Properties in each central and outlying counties are promoting at about half the tempo in comparison with one 12 months in the past, however properties are promoting a day quicker in outlying counties, at 34 days, in comparison with 35 days within the central counties. One 12 months in the past, the median days on market in outlying counties was 78 days, a day quicker than within the central counties.

Lively listings are down in each central and outlying counties whereas pending listings are up. The standard variety of properties which might be actively listed on any given day in a month are down 45% in each central and outlying counties, indicating a extreme lack of provide in each areas.

Alternatively, pending listings are up in each central and outlying counties, with a barely increased charge of enhance of 5.1% in central counties in comparison with outlying counties, at 4.5%.

Larger ratio of pending listings per lively listings in outlying counties

Bringing collectively each demand (pending listings) and provide circumstances (lively listings), there’s a increased imbalance between demand and provide in outlying counties, with a median of 1.8 pending listings per lively itemizing in comparison with 1.6 pending listings per lively itemizing within the central counties.  

Greater sq. footage in outlying counties

One motive for the choice of a house within the outlying counties is the supply of larger properties and extra yard house. By way of the house sq. footage, the median sq. footage of properties listed in outlying counties was 1,889 sq. ft which is 39 sq. ft bigger than the median sq. footage of 1,850 sq. ft within the central counties. That 39 sq. ft provides additional cupboard space or perhaps a little nook space that can be utilized as a piece space.   

Median itemizing costs in chosen metro areas

Drilling down into the key metro areas for which there’s no less than one outlying or central county tracked by realtor.com®, median itemizing costs are rising at a quicker tempo within the outlying counties in comparison with the central counties.

For instance, within the New York-Newark-Jersey Metropolis space, the median worth within the central counties is simply up by 2.8% year-over-year in June 2021 attributable to worth declines in central counties like Kings (-4.6%), Queens (-3.3%), Bronx (-12.8%), Westchester (-7%), and Bergen (-3.9%). Nonetheless, costs are rising within the central counties which might be trip spots like Suffolk (12.3%) and Nassau (11.5%) and Ocean, New Jersey (6.3%). The one outlying county for this metro space that’s tracked by realtor.com® is Pike, Pennsylvania the place the median checklist worth rose 37.5% year-over-year.  

Within the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro space, checklist costs in June 2021 have been down within the District of Columbia (-15.4%) and the central counties of Fairfax (-15%), and Montgomery (-12.3%). Nonetheless, checklist costs have been up within the outlying counties of Spotsylvania, Virginia (15.4%), Jefferson, West Virginia (16.6%), and Frederick, Maryland (13%). Nonetheless, the median checklist worth declined within the outlying county of Calvert, Maryland (-7.1%). 

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro space is bucking the pattern the place dwelling costs are falling within the outlying counties akin to DeKalb (-7.3%) whereas itemizing costs are rising within the central counties akin to Prepare dinner (2.1%). The town of Chicago is in Prepare dinner County.

Within the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley metro space, the median checklist worth is down within the central counties of San Francisco (-11.6%), Marin (-6.4%), and San Mateo (-2.4%). Nonetheless, Alameda, a central county, is exhibiting worth appreciation (3.2%) in addition to the outlying county of Contra Costa (9.8%). San Francisco is a county that has been taking a very long time to recuperate as a result of its workforce is closely concentrated in expertise jobs. Nationally, 50% of pc/mathematical staff are teleworking as of June 2021 in comparison with 14% amongst all occupations.

Within the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro space, the median checklist worth is down year-over-year within the central county of Middlesex (-3.3%) whereas different central counties of Norfolk (0.6%), Suffolk (1.1%), and Essex (1.2%) are exhibiting modest worth growths. Within the outlying county of Strafford, New Hampshire, the median checklist worth is up double digits (10.2%). The town of Boston is in Suffolk. This means that cities are usually not lifeless, though housing demand is rising extra robustly within the outlying counties.

Within the Dallas-Fort Price-Arlington metro space, the median checklist worth within the central county of Dallas is rising at a modest tempo (3.2%) in comparison with the close by central county of Tarrant (8.3%) or the outlying counties of Hunt (22%), Smart (23.5%), and Ellis (11.8%).

Houses in outlying counties are inexpensive and supply extra space

Affordability is clearly a driver of the demand for properties in outlying areas. Houses in outlying counties have been usually inexpensive than in central counties. Nonetheless, in June 2021, the median checklist worth in outlying counties notched up barely above the median checklist worth in central counties, indicating the robust demand for housing in outlying counties.

Houses are additionally bigger in outlying counties. In June 2021, the median itemizing sq. ft of properties listed in outlying counties rose to 1,889 sq. ft. Alternatively, the median itemizing sq. ft in central counties has been falling since 2020, from 1,951 sq. ft to 1,850 sq. ft as of June 2021. This means that owners are promoting smaller properties and that the properties which might be left in the marketplace as actively listed are the smaller properties, indicating a choice for larger properties.

Houses with work-from-home areas stay fascinating to homebuyers, in keeping with NAR’s newest June REALTORS® Confidence Index survey. On this month-to-month survey, 58% of REALTORS® reported that they’d a purchaser who was in search of options that can be utilized as house to do business from home, akin to a completed basement, an additional room, nook, or den.

Line graph: Percent of REALTORS® with buyers looking for work from home features, August 2020 to June 2021

Housing Demand Outlook in Outlying Counties

Demand in central counties which might be dwelling to large cities has been weaker, however as of now the info doesn’t present a collapse in dwelling costs within the cities (e.g., Boston, Chicago, Dallas). San Francisco and New York are the cities going through the hardest restoration by way of the demand for housing (owned and rented) and workplace house, however housing demand is holding up in secondary or tertiary cities.

Nonetheless, if the pattern in direction of working from house is sustained, and if jobs begin shifting in direction of outlying counties, the robust demand for each bigger properties and cheaper properties within the outlying counties will seemingly proceed and can outpace demand within the central counties of metropolitan areas.

After all, different elements will have an effect on the demand for housing in outlying counties, such because the presence of excellent faculties (for millennial households) and environment friendly transit or street commutes (for individuals who shall be on a hybrid schedule) from residences to locations of labor, faculty, and leisure. The bipartisan infrastructure invoice which is meant to restore and rebuild the community of roads and bridges to enhance the effectivity, fairness, and security of commuters shall be instrumental in connecting the outlying counties to the central counties and principal cities of metropolitan areas.


1 I categorized the realtor.com® 1,000 metro areas as central or outlying counties based mostly on the March 2020 U.S. Workplace of Administration and Finances Bulletin delineation; https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/time-series/demo/metro-micro/delineation-files.html. The three counties that realtor.com® tracks that aren’t within the March 2020 OMB Bulletin and couldn’t due to this fact be labeled into central or outlying counties are Van Buren, Michigan; Barry, Michigan; and Le Flore, Oklahoma.

A central county is a county or counties of a Core Based mostly Statistical Space containing a considerable portion of an urbanized space or city cluster or each, and to and from which commuting is measured to find out qualification of outlying counties. An outlying county is a county that qualifies for inclusion in a Core Based mostly Statistical Space on the idea of commuting ties with the Core Based mostly Statistical Space’s central county or counties. A county qualifies as outlying underneath the next circumstances: (1) one-quarter or extra of the employed residents work within the central counties of the metropolitan or micropolitan statistical space, or (2) one-quarter or extra of the employment consists of staff who reside within the central counties. Moreover, outlying counties additionally embody the counties of any smaller metropolitan or micropolitan statistical space which might be adjoining to the metropolitan or micropolitan statistical space and merge with it. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/metro-micro/about/glossary.html

2 To notice, outlying counties are usually not the identical as “suburbs” that are popularly thought of as locations that border the cities or cities and have robust financial relationships (folks reside there however work within the metropolis). For instance, within the case of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro space, each Fairfax County and the District of Columbia are thought of central counties though the favored notion is to think about Fairfax County as a suburb of Washington, DC.

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