The pandemic-related trend of city dwellers fleeing for the suburbs, small towns and rural areas may already be reversing, with prices rising fastest for single-family homes in urban locations and sales of urban condos up nearly 30 percent, according to a recent report from Redfin real estate brokerage.

In the D.C. region, condo sales reached a new high of 1,826 in April, a 6 percent increase over March, according to Bright MLS.

Redfin’s analysis of the housing market, including urban, suburban and rural single-family homes as well as urban and suburban condos, found that prices of urban single-family homes rose nearly 20 percent during the first 12 weeks of 2021 (ending April 4) compared with the same time period in 2020. Prices rose faster for single-family homes in all locations compared to condos, indicating a continued preference for more living space and self-contained space rather than shared common areas or walls.

More than a year after the start of the pandemic, Redfin’s analysis found that urban single-family homes represent an ideal living situation for many people, with the benefits of walkability and urban amenities along with the space of a larger home. Single-family homes are selling faster than condos, in a median of 25 days for suburban single-family homes and a median of 29 days for urban single-family homes.

Condos make a comeback

The number of urban condos sold rose by nearly 30 percent in the first 12 weeks of 2021 compared with the first 12 weeks of 2020, according to Redfin, the biggest increase of any property category. Suburban condo sales also rose by 22.8 percent in that same time period.

Early in the pandemic, condo sales plummeted in both urban and suburban markets. During the 12 weeks ending June 29, 2020, sales of urban condos dropped 44.9 percent compared with that same time period in 2019. The decline in suburban condos was similarly dramatic, dropping 42.3 percent.

Urban online searches rise

Redfin tracks online searches to measure buyer interest in different locations and property types, which of course don’t always result in a sale. Online listings of homes in large metro areas saw a 62 percent increase in page views in the first 12 weeks of 2021 compared with the first 12 weeks of 2020, which is another indication that buyers are thinking of returning to cities.

Those searches in metro areas include both urban and suburban properties, but searches for properties in small towns rose just 30 percent in that same time frame and searches in rural areas rose just 18 percent.

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