The pandemic has caused a major shift with more people working from home. As a result, many people have opted to move to the suburbs seeking lower rent. While the pandemic accelerated this shift, it may be temporary as walkability (mostly provided in urban settings) still holds value.
While some employers are requiring employees back in the office, many have opted to continue the "work from home" model. The next two years will be telling. If employees are required to go back to the office, the shift back to urban living will be expedited.
It’s been good year for anyone tired of hearing about the high value of “walkable” apartment properties. Walkability has become a buzzy concept in residential circles in recent years, propelled in part by “walk scores” metrics developed by Redfin and other competitors. These numbers are meant to gauge how many key amenities are within easy walking distance of the residences in a community, underscoring less need for getting in a car to run every errand. Yet there has been a clear trend, which has now been accelerated by the pandemic, prices rising in suburban areas where residents are more dependent on cars, according to analysis by Real Capital Analytics (RCA) while it’s been moderating or falling in areas with higher walkability scores. RCA compared apartment property prices in places with varying levels of walkability as measured by their walk scores as determined by WalkScore.com. “Prices are falling more for more walkable assets,” concludes James Costello, senior vice president for RCA, based in New York City.