Maybe you’ve heard: The pandemic is killing cities, fueling a rush to spacious digs in the suburbs. That’s largely true of pricey New York and San Francisco, but in downtowns across much of the rest of the country, real estate demand is booming. From Pittsburgh to Phoenix, condos and townhouses within stumbling distance of bars and restaurants are hot. Like families upgrading to bigger suburban homes, young white-collar workers are taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates and flexible remote-work policies to move to desirable cities they find more affordable.
In denser, more urban neighborhoods, home prices jumped 15% in the three months through January, slightly ahead of the pace in suburbia, brokerage Redfin Corp. says. That marks a shift from early in the pandemic, when downtown prices lagged outer areas or even fell, a sign that Covid-19 vaccines are helping fuel demand as nightlife returns. “People are anticipating that now is a great time to buy,” says Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. “They’re not thinking about the short term. They’re looking forward to eating inside restaurants and going to concerts.”
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