Room to Roam: COVID Inspires Migration to the Seattle Suburbs
My husband and I have lived in one of the Seattle proper neighborhoods for roughly the last decade. We’ve relished the late night walks home from the local haunt, early weekend strolls for croissants, we walked our newborn around the big beautiful park. The symphony, the Sounders – we’ve loved the close commute to all downtown has to offer, including our jobs.
But then comes 2020 like the wrecking ball it was. And we find ourselves with another newborn, our “offices” in our basement, croissants in our own oven and coffee strictly from our kitchen. And like so many young families, we started looking to the suburbs with its extra bedrooms and large closets. Ironically, we put an offer on a house that has neither of those things, but it is nonetheless the stuff suburban dreams are made of – SPACE. LOTS OF OUTDOOR SPACE. We have always had to negotiate how to turn our yard into a play area, a garden, a workshop, etc, etc, etc. Suddenly, there is room for it all - no negotiations necessary!
Come this weekend, we’ll be moving to the suburbs with our mini aussie, our city chickens, our two children and our espresso machine. Based on how competitive the market has been for us, looking in places like Lynnwood, Brier, Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville I suspected our move might be reflective of a larger shift happening in the area. A quick online search let me know I was right - we are one of many families choosing to make this trade since Covid hit. On the national scale, families continue to migrate South. According to the North American Van Lines 2020 US Migration Report they believe it is largely for the space, “For those seeking to avoid congested areas, the south offers a lot of open space and opportunity to live more rurally, but with access to common conveniences. This may have been particularly important in 2020 as individuals sought their own “space” and avoid congested cities.” They also found people are fleeing at incredible rates from California to Texas and Idaho, others moving to Arizona, Tennessee and the Carolinas. But this pattern is also being seen across the board at a micro-level too, with individuals searching for homes in the suburbs outside major cities – opting for nature over amenities.
“During the second quarter of 2020, Realtor.com’s quarterly Cross Market Demand Report found that 51 percent of property searches on the site from city residents in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas were for homes in the suburbs of those metro areas, a record high since the website began tracking that data in 2017.” - The Washington Post
The Washington Post found that, “During the second quarter of 2020, Realtor.com’s quarterly Cross Market Demand Report found that 51 percent of property searches on the site from city residents in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas were for homes in the suburbs of those metro areas, a record high since the website began tracking that data in 2017.”
We might be feeling a little claustrophobic and are jumping at the opportunity to stretch out a bit, but if our decision is any hint at others’ it has more to do with capitalizing on the opportunity for a new adventure and new opportunities. COVID has come with its team of struggles, but it has also unlocked remote work in long-dreamt of ways. With upper management on board for a future of remote work and limited days on-site, a longer commute is no longer the gate that bars a home search.
So here we go, a little nervous about this big change, and also very hopeful.
As I get a taste for each step of the move, and gather the best advice from friends and family I thought, why not share. In the coming months I’ll give my best tips (and probably a few failures) on how to prepare your toddler for a move, packing and unpacking a home, perhaps even how to move your chickens (that’d be fun right?). We are all having to adapt to new ways of life this year and as we let the familiar go, we just might find something better.
We have found new ways to work, and continue to find new ways to also play. The Greater Seattle area will continue to be one of the most beautiful places to live, and I believe in 2021 we’ll learn many new reasons why.