Every once in a while, a headline cuts right through the haze of statistics and really tells you something about the complicated state of what’s really going on in the US.
And somehow, the WSJ did it Tuesday with an article about how surging home prices (particularly in densely populated cities) and a shift toward a remote-work lifestyle are causing significant numbers of Americans to move away from big urban centers like NYC and smaller or mid-sized cities.
Many of the cities on the receiving end are happy to see newcomers after decades of decline in their industrial base hollowed out over decades of deindustrialization.
And their transition is a loss for largely blue states like California and New York that are hiking taxes and driving more taxpayers away.
In the latest sign of this shift away from the more than decade-long shift of young people moving to big cities, Elkhart, Ind., which calls itself “the RV Capital of the world” based on the fact that it’s the largest RV manufacturer in the US, was the leading county in Realtor.com’s latest
According to the latest data from a Realtor.com/News Corp., the last quarter was a very good one for Elkhart’s real-estate market, which is hotter than it’s been in decades. The Indiana county topped the WSJ’s “Emerging Housing Markets Index” in Q3.
The index claims to identify “the top metro areas for home buyers seeking an appreciating housing market and appealing lifestyle amenities”.
Per WSJ, the index’s top-ranked markets saw “faster-growing populations and more shopping interest from shoppers outside their metro areas than the market as a whole, said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.”
Just in case you didn’t put the pieces together yourself, the WSJ reports that the COVID pandemic “...has spurred more RV demand” as households wanted to travel while “keeping their distance from others.” Unemployment in Elkhart did sit at 3% in August, compared with the 5.1% headline national average.
The median home-sale price in Elkhart County rose 12.3% in August from a year earlier to $209,900, according to the Indiana Association of Realtors. There were 163 homes for sale that month, down from 220 a year earlier.
“Market activity has slowed slightly in recent weeks, but “anything under $250,000 still goes very, very fast,” Ms. Miller said. “Those are the hardest to come by and the fastest to sell.”
They even managed to measure the fact that about “65% of the page vies on Elkhart-area property listings” came from “outside the metro area” to illustrate the pace of interest from out-of-town buyers.
It’s just the latest sign that, as we noted last week, job openings are soaring as millions of Americans are moving to new places and looking to start over.