Chief economist of Trulia, Jed Kolko, looks at the Metro Movers of Spring 2012 to find out what homes are searchers looking for and why. Two interesting facts have been discovered. First of all, the majority of short – distance searches are for small cities and suburbs. Second of all, home buyers commuting long distances have bad job prospects.
It seems like people care less about jobs and more about sprawl. In fact, things are not that simple. When it comes to short – distance searches, a recent report from April 2011 till March 2012 showed that out of the all searches, 44% of them were performed within the metro areas. The other 56% were for additional metro areas.
One third of these seek outs were in fact represented by home buyers seeking shorter commutes. Another third was middle – distance and the remaining was long – distance. However, within top 10 searches, realtors could see only short – distance commutes. People were looking for homes in cities like Riverside – San Bernardino instead of searching in the big cities. Seven from these 10 searches were looking for smaller metros (Dallas towards Fort Worth), or for the suburbs (New York City towards Long Island or Newark).
The metros that are very close to each other sometimes have similar features like the same weather. At the same time, they are very different. Home buyers commuting longer distances are particularly looking for smaller and suburban markets that feature single – family houses with gardens. Moreover, the small and suburban markets usually offer houses with smaller prices. But even if these houses are expensive, they are still more likely to be bought as compared to the apartments and condos in the big cities.
Many people are trying to find the advantages of living in the city: shorter commute, public transit, and nearby restaurants and shops. Despite this fact, they will always opt for more space instead of these amenities. The sprawling suburbs are expanding because here houses are much cheaper. But, if in the future the prices will rise, people might be moving towards the big cities. For example, middle – distance searches encompass cities like Houston and Dallas or New York and Washington DC. Choosing the distance not for jobs, but for warm winters and bargains
The most interesting searches are the long – distance ones. 20% of the searches on Trulia are looking for long – distance homes. 62% are for the South and 54% are for the West. For example, a lot of New Yorkers are trying to find houses in Florida. Very few people are willing to move from Los Angeles towards New York City. Individuals who want to move far away are hunting for different things. They want to move from New York to Miami, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Chicago or Fort Lauderdale.
These people are trying to find various characteristics like new, affordable, booming, coastal, mountainous, snowy, sunny etc. The markets they’re looking for are quite affordable, but they offer very few jobs. For instance, people from Philadelphia, Washington DC or Chicago, where the unemployment rate is low, are searching for homes in high unemployment markets such as Los Angeles, Atlanta or Riverside – San Bernardino. When looking for a house, the secret is to not overlook the job market.