Is the Move Finally On?
I've been predicting this development for ten years. "A combination of the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social unrest is prompting waves of Americans to move from large cities and permanently relocate to more sparsely populated areas. The trend has been accelerated by technology and shifting attitudes that make it easier than ever to work remotely. Residents of all ages and incomes are moving in record numbers to suburban areas and small towns".
A few years ago, my prediction accelerated into a virtual guarantee after I listened to this episode on Thaddeus Russell's "Unregistered" Podcast. It was an interview with Dar Williams, a singer-songwriter who had traveled all over small town America and was impressed by what she saw and the potential. The basic premise: small town America has been downtrodden; real estate prices are low; technology makes it unnecessary to live in urban areas; many small towns had become hip; get ready for the small town boom.
I even bought a 1.2 acre piece of undeveloped commercial real estate, mostly to start an urban garden, but also because I figured its investment value potential was pretty high. (I also felt bad for the Knights of Columbus, who had been sitting on it for years, unable to sell it. Now that the investment hasn't panned out, I tell myself that I primarily did it for charity. Instead of being a dufus, I am now a righteous dufus.)
At the end of 2019, there had been no small town surge.
In fact, I believe urban living in America was at an all-time high, per capita.
People were not flocking to the towns, especially young people. They wanted to be where the action is, where they could network, where there was constant buzz.
But is that changing now that the "buzz" consists of people talking about COVID? Now that networking is mostly viral? Now that the "action" is in bars that feature poor ventilation and on urban streets where riots are encouraged by urban authorities?
It's way to early to tell, but this piece is encouraging.