‘We have seen a shift:’ New study finds homes worth more in suburban than urban zip codes

COVID-19 pandemic is the reason for the shift, experts say

Living in the suburbs is paying off. A recent study from Zillow found for the first time in recent years suburban homes are worth more than houses in urban zip codes and experts said the pandemic is the reason for the shift.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Living in the suburbs is paying off. A recent study from Zillow found for the first time in recent years suburban homes are worth more than houses in urban zip codes and experts said the pandemic is the reason for the shift.

The housing market in Central Florida remains hot, but the suburbs are even hotter.

“We have seen a shift,” Amy Moline, the owner of Key Bella Homes at EXP Realty said.

Moline said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, people wanted to live in urban zip codes.

[TRENDING: What’s that smell? Tons of stinky seaweed covers Central Florida coast | 8 Central Florida shops where the chocolate flows | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

“That was definitely more popular. People enjoyed being closer to their business, especially if they’re working downtown,” Moline said. “Downtown was the booming place and the prices were certainly higher than what you would usually see in a suburb.”

Moline said that all changed when people started working from home. She said that opened the opportunity to live farther from where they worked.

Nicole Bachaud, an economist with Zillow, adds the pandemic shifted families’ priorities.

“We’ve also seen a big push for larger homes, homes with more space for a home office or extra bedrooms or whatever that extra space is that people are looking for,” Bachaud said.

Zillow recently conducted a study that found home values in the suburbs are growing faster than in urban areas.

“Suburban and urban home values have tracked very similarly for the past several years and throughout the beginning of the pandemic up until recent months,” Bachaud said.

According to Zillow, in the Orlando market — which covers Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties — over the past year has seen suburban home values grow by more than $84,000 compared to $69,000 for urban home values.

The highest appreciation was seen in several suburban zip codes, including Zellwood, St. Cloud, Celebration, Kissimmee and Fruitland Park.

Bachaud said just because the suburbs are hot, that doesn’t mean cities are cooling off.

“It’s still an incredibly hot market no matter where you look,” Bachaud said.

Moline adds knowing which areas are most competitive can help potential home buyers navigate the housing market.

“Don’t be scared. If it feels like the right decision for your family and it makes sense financially, do what you need to do,” Moline said.

You can listen to every episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate in the media player below:


About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!