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House Hunters' Hunger for Small Towns Continues to Soar, Even as Interest in Big Cities Begins to Recover

Pageviews of houses in small towns are surging amid the coronavirus pandemic, while big cities are staging a more modest comeback

SEATTLE, May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- (NASDAQ: RDFN) — Pageviews of homes in small towns surged 105% year over year during the seven-day period ending May 1, an acceleration from the 85% gain that occurred during the week ending April 1, according to a new report from Redfin (, the technology-powered real estate brokerage. In rural counties with fewer than 10,000 people, views climbed 76%, a sizable increase from the prior year but a deceleration from the 170% rise a month before.

Meanwhile, homes in urban metro areas with at least 1 million people saw a 16% rise in pageviews during the week ending May 1. That marks a reversal from the 13% decline Redfin saw a month prior, but still represents a much slower increase than small towns and rural areas are experiencing.

"During the first month of the pandemic, interest in rural areas skyrocketed while interest in cities fell, with many urbanites dreaming of packing up and heading for the hills," said Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr. "Some of that boost in rural areas proved to be temporary, but it appears to be more sustainable in small towns, which may be a more realistic option for those looking to work from home primarily or commute into the office once or twice a week."

The draw to small towns and rural areas is not only evident in home-browsing habits; it's showing up in actual sales. While pending homes sales are down across the board, less-populous areas aren't being hit quite as hard as large cities are. Pending sales plummeted 39% in urban metro areas during the week ending May 1, compared with a drop of around just 25% in both small towns and rural areas. That gap is wider than the one Redfin saw during the week ending April 1, when urban metro areas had experienced a 28% decline in pending sales, compared with a decrease of 20% in rural areas.

While cities and remote areas are dealing with different levels of fallout fueled by the coronavirus, sales overall have shown signs of recovery. There were 40,952 homes under contract to be sold nationwide during the week ending May 1, a 35% decrease from the same period the prior year. That's an improvement from the 41.7% drop that occurred when pending sales bottomed in mid-April.

To read the full report, including charts, please visit:

About Redfin
Redfin ( is a technology-powered real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer's favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country's #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry's lowest published error rate for listed homes. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 90 major metro areas across the U.S. and Canada. The company has helped customers buy or sell homes worth more than $115 billion.

For more information or to contact a local Redfin real estate agent, visit To learn about housing market trends and download data, visit the Redfin Data Center. To be added to Redfin's press release distribution list, email To view Redfin's press center, click here.

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