Over the past several years, many homebuyers have traded big-city living for an abode in the ’burbs. But flash ahead to now, and those same folks may be kicking themselves, at least if they take a look at Zillow’s recent research, which indicates dwellings in suburban locales are less valuable on a per-square-foot basis today than they were a decade ago.
According to the report, which gives an analysis of home values in urban, suburban, and rural zones, as of December 2017, the median U.S. suburban home was worth $138 per square foot. Houses in urban markets boast a median value of $315,988, up 8.8 percent from last year. Homes sited in the suburbs, on the other hand, are valued at $234,443 (ahead 6 percent year-over-year) and $157,451 in rural spots (up 5.5 percent from December 206).
While per-square-foot values for both urban and rural homes ($231 and $102 per square foot, respectively) have exceeded their pre-recession highs and are currently at new peaks, the current value for suburban homes stands below its prior peak of $140, from October 2006, the report noted.
The 127.1 percent disparity between urban and rural housing is now as broad as it has ever been, even outstripping the chasm in existence 10 years ago ahead of the Great Recession, the analysis notes. It represents the biggest difference since at least January 1996 and tops the 124.1 percent gap last felt in October 2006, months before the housing market crested before the housing bust.
In parsing the numbers, it’s a matter of how well (or not) different areas of the country have rebounded since that bust, the report indicates. Numerous urban areas benefitted from big businesses setting up shop in their ZIP codes, it adds.
The report said that the data provides another illustration of the deep and lasting scars of the recession, as well as how different market segments have fared in the years since then. Many cities have experienced tremendous growth in recent years as high-paying jobs in tech, healthcare, finance, and other booming industries increasingly located in dense urban cores, while other areas have not bounced back.