What Drives Home Buyers into Cities?

With all the bad news associated with big cities, one would think that no one would want to live in an urban environment. And yet, they do. Despite decades of doom and gloom suggesting that America’s cities were under dire threat of collapsing, things go on as usual. Buyers buy houses in the city just as they always have. The question is, why?

Home Buyers into Cities

What is it about urban dwelling that makes people buy city houses? Moreover, why do people continue to live in cities when statistics clearly show they would rather live in rural environments? It turns out that the answer is not as complicated as it appears. Much of what explains city living boils down to a single word: economics.

People Would Rather Live Elsewhere

Looking at housing data reveals some interesting things about the American psyche. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 80% of us live in urban areas. But a fair number don’t do so willingly. New data from Gallup suggests that 27% of American adults consider rural living their ideal. Another 12% would prefer small town life over big city living. Just 10% prefer urban or suburban living.

It’s clear that people would rather live in small towns or rural areas. For starters, rural living is a lot easier. The pace is slower, the traffic is nonexistent, you rarely stand in line for anything, and you actually get to know your neighbors on a more personal level. The icing on the cake are cheaper housing prices. Yet people still live in cities for economic reasons.

That’s Where the Jobs Are

The driving force behind home buyers choosing city living is economics. Take Salt Lake City as an example. The local housing market is considered very competitive, according to local real estate brokerage CityHome Collective. Redfin data backs that up. The average sale price for a typical Salt Lake City home is $385,000. Homes typically receive at least two offers before selling, and properties go pending in less than a month.

Salt Lake City has a lot going for it. It is an up-and-coming city and part of Utah’s famed Wasatch Front. However, its main appeal to home buyers is economic. In short, Salt Lake City’s economy is extremely strong right now. It is strong enough that companies are locating there in hopes of taking advantage of a skilled workforce. That means jobs.

If you’re looking for a modern home in Salt Lake City, you won’t see page after page of listings. Modern homes go quickly. The same is true for condos, lofts, luxury homes, and even older city homes with plenty of history behind them. It’s all because Salt Lake City’s economy and job markets are both doing well.

City vs. Suburban Prices

Economics play another vital role in city housing. As long as people are moving to cities in order to take advantage of job opportunities, they might just as well look for the most affordable homes. And when you compare city and suburban prices, city housing wins. You can get a lot more for your money in the city thanks to lower sale prices, lower property taxes, and a lower cost-of-living.

America’s home buyers continue to look for properties in large and mid-sized cities. They are driven to the cities mainly by employment opportunities. But if they have their druthers, the vast majority would prefer to live in a small town or rural setting.

How about you? Where do you live? If you had the opportunity to live elsewhere, would you choose to go small town or rural? If so, you’re in good company.

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