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Is COVID-19 pushing people back to the burbs?

Huntsville-Decatur WAFF logo Huntsville-Decatur WAFF 6/26/2020
a bridge over a body of water with a city in the background: Huntsville, Alabama, USA park and downtown cityscape at twilight. © Sean Pavone Huntsville, Alabama, USA park and downtown cityscape at twilight.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -Americans are looking forward to something different ‘when this is all over.’

For some, ‘something different’ will be taking a vacation. For others, it’s going anywhere that’s more than six feet away from their roommate.

As for real estate, CCIM Chief Economist KC Conway says its something different will be familiar- a return to suburbia.

Over the last ten years, Americans have flocked back to urban cores to experience the live, work play mantra that has become synonymous with mixed-use developments.

But as states reopen and we slowly return to a ‘new normal’, Conway forecasts an urban exodus. More people are looking to buy homes

Local real estate expert, Michael Kinzer says the North Alabama housing market is healthy.

a blue and white sign: HAAR May Fast Stats © Provided by Huntsville-Decatur WAFF HAAR May Fast Stats

“Inventory and prices increased, while days on market fell,” says Kinzer.

According to the data from the Huntsville Area Association of realtors, homes are selling on average within 29 days.

However, Kinzer said that figure is a conservative indicator.

“You have to keep in mind that figure averages everything including homes that have been on the market for a long time. The reality is a well-priced property is selling in four to five days right now.”

He says it’s still a sellers market.

“Buyers are becoming more aggressive. I’ve had buyers who have missed out on several properties, so now they are offering in some cases fifteen-thousand dollars over asking price,” says Kinzer.

Conway reiterates Kinzer’s anecdotal evidence.

“These young professionals and even empty-nesters moved into these mixed-use developments with the promise of luxury amenities and convenience. Now, their apartment gyms and pools are closed due to COVID-19. Space is more valuable than ever. Why would these people continue to pay a premium for amenities that are obsolete,” says Conway.


Kinzer says neighborhoods like Blossomwood, MayFair Park and Five Points are exploding for just that reason.

“Buyers in these neighborhoods are afforded the convenience of being able to walk downtown and grab a beer at Green Bus or have dinner at Purveyor, but they don’t have to live on top of each other in order to live that lifestyle.”

Kinzer says these neighborhoods have always been desirable due to their proximity to Huntsville’s economic engine, Redstone Arsenal and the city’s rapidly expanding arts and entertainment district.

He predicts property values in Huntsville and the surround sub-markets will continue to climb over the coming months.

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