Pandemic-related lockdowns made many Americans want more space. So when home buyers came back to the market, sales in the suburbs heated up. Buyers wanted bigger homes, larger yards, more privacy, and room for a home office. That trend continued throughout the pandemic. But now that things have opened up and fewer of us are working remotely, has the push for suburban and exurban homes died down? Well, one measure can be found in a recent report from the National Association of Home Builders. According to their Home Building Geography Index – which tracks where new homes are being built – residential construction has slowed in nearly all markets but particularly in large suburban areas. Robert Dietz, NAHB's chief economist, says some of that is because of material costs but it's also due to a shift in buyer preferences. “The more pronounced drop in growth for the large suburban markets is due to the easing of the rapid shift of home buyer preferences for the suburbs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dietz says. In other words, slower new home construction in the suburbs could be an early sign that buyer preferences are starting to shift back to pre-pandemic norms.
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