Work from Anywhere: Home Purchases Rising Outside the Phoenix Metro

September 28, 2020

Work from Anywhere

Our focus on real estate market data tends to revolve around what’s happening in Greater Phoenix real estate—and there’s been plenty to talk about, with ongoing strength due to high demand, limited supply, and low interest rates. Behind the numbers, an interesting trend has occurred: a notable increase in home sales in areas outside the metro area.

For comparison, the total number of residential properties sold in the entire Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) from June 17 to September 17 was 27,254 in 2019 and 29,518 in 2020. That’s a healthy 8.3% gain. Now, take a look at the out-of-area property sales: 3,638 in 2019 and 4,555 in 2020—a 25.2% gain. The most popular areas have included locations such as Sierra Vista, Prescott, Flagstaff, Payson, and Heber-Overgaard.

Normally, an increase in sales to higher and cooler altitudes might indicate people simply wanting to escape the Valley’s heat. Given that the time periods are the same, however, there are other factors causing the outperformance of out-of-area real estate.

  • The influence of the coronavirus pandemic is one obvious answer. After all, is there any easier way to socially distance than to move to an area with less population density?
  • A second factor is related: The pandemic forced businesses to accelerate their capabilities for allowing employees to work from home. Removing the need to go into an office has allowed work from home (WFH) to evolve into work from anywhere (WFA). This fits within a larger trend NPR recently coined as “Zoom Towns”—and certainly many of the Arizona towns listed above would fit that description.
  • Third and finally is bang for the buck. Buying outside the Phoenix metro area, real estate is generally more affordable. Again, for comparison’s sake: The average home price in the overall ARMLS was $223 per square foot in the past 90 days, whereas that figure drops to $202 in out-of-area properties.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Phoenix or to find an escape that fits a remote-work lifestyle, you can count on the R.O.I. Properties team. Contact us at [email protected] or call 602-319-1326, and we will help you formulate a strategic plan.

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