More people are considering moving out of crowded cities due to COVID-19

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In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, people are considering ‘social distancing as a lifestyle’

With the coronavirus outbreak still bearing down on the nation, a growing number of Americans are considering moving to a less densely populated area in the interest of protecting their health. 

Harris Poll researchers found that nearly a third of respondents were mulling the idea of moving out of their current place of residence and into a less crowded area. 

The poll, which was based on answers from 2,050 adults from April 25-27, revealed that those in the 18- to-34-year-old age range were the most likely to say they’re considering a move. Urban residents (43 percent) were more likely than suburban (26 percent) and rural (21 percent) residents to say they recently checked real estate websites for homes or apartments to rent or buy.

“Space now means something more than square feet,” Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said in a statement. “Already beset by high rents and clogged streets, the virus is now forcing urbanites to consider social distancing as a lifestyle.”

Spreading out

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in people who are now working remotely -- and in some cases, remote work may become a permanent way of life. People who now have the flexibility of being able to work away from their company’s headquarters now have the option of moving farther away from crowded cities. 

People appear to be looking for places that allow them to distance themselves from neighbors and crowds, and families with children are seeking out suburban settings with ample space to enjoy outdoor activities. 

Steven Magnuson, a Douglas Elliman broker in Greenwich, Connecticut, told CNBC that he’s been busy showing large houses to wealthy New Yorkers. 

In the post-coronavirus market, “people want a place where, if they have kids, they can get out and do something. They can go out for a bike ride, and go for a run or walk and live their daily lives without feeling inundated by their neighbors,” Magnuson said.

Suburbs rise in popularity

Other amenities that are in demand among wealthy buyers include a pool, a large home office cell services, and a strong internet connection. 

Experts say the coronavirus crisis may fuel trends that were already underway before, such as millennials increasingly looking to put down roots in the suburbs. 

“As states plan to reopen their economies, what changes COVID-19 will have on the housing market remain to be seen,” according to HousingWire. “Demographers and Realtors alike predict this is a tipping point for people who’ve already been dreaming of backyards, private pools and more space.”  

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