Suburbs Remain Popular, Even as Cities Stage Comeback

An overhead shot of a suburban residential neighborhood with houses and roads among scattered trees.

© Michael H - Stone / Getty Images

The pandemic triggered a suburban home rush, and more than a year in, that doesn’t appear to be letting up. Even as big cities stage a housing comeback, the suburbs remain hot.

The number of home buyers shopping nationwide for suburban homes has jumped 42.1% since the pandemic began,®’s data shows. Suburban homes comprised 62% of online home views in September compared to 38% for listings in urban areas.

“The suburbs have always attracted home buyers looking for more house for their money, but recent data reflects just how much suburban competition has intensified,” says Danielle Hale,®’s chief economist. “With the rise in long-term remote work options and downtown rents making a rapid comeback, suburban vs. urban housing dynamics are shifting.”

Suburban housing activity continues to accelerate at a faster pace than in urban areas, Hale says. Further, “the price premium is shrinking between notoriously expensive urban housing and suburban for-sale homes, typically known for more bargains,” Hale says.

Inventories are slim, however. The number of homes for sale in the suburbs was down 13% annually in September compared to 8% in urban areas,® reports.

Prices are rising faster in suburban locales. In 2020, the suburbs outpaced their urban counterparts’ price growth for the first time since 2017. The median listing price per square foot reached $212 in the suburbs in September, which is 18% higher than a year ago and 28.4% higher than the pre-pandemic 2019 level, according to®. On the other hand, the median listing price per square foot of urban homes was $226, 14.9%, and 25.4% higher than 2020 and 2019, respectively.

A line graph comparing the rises in price per square foot in urban and suburban markets.