COVID-19 has left the real estate industry reeling. Potential buyers are split between taking advantage of record low mortgage rates and the added stress of moving during a pandemic – as seen in major markets like Houston, current conditions have created a buyer’s market. Mortgage rates aside, though, COVID-19 has also sparked a desire to relocate. City dwellers in crowded, expensive markets like the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Boston are eyeing less dense, more affordable areas, and Austin suburbs like San Marcos are in the spotlight.
With as many as 27% of homebuyers actively looking to relocate right now, rather than to purchase in their current area, it’s also an ideal time for landlords in more affordable regions to promote their properties. By highlighting these 3 major elements, you can court newcomers to the San Marcos area, even in uncertain times.
Outside The Urban Center
According to a Pew survey, 22% of Americans relocated or know someone who relocated for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest portion of which were people ages 18 to 29 who primarily moved due to college shutdowns or who moved out of overpriced apartments and back in with their parents. Looking ahead, though, the majority of those looking to relocate are expected to be established adults who will be working primarily remotely in the future or who are willing to search for a new job to escape crowded urban centers. Some of this cohort, of course, will opt to relocate to smaller cities, but suburbs of major cities are also a great option.
So, how can you promote properties in an up-and-coming suburb like San Marcos that may not be on the radar for those planning to relocate? One of the core selling points of San Marcos is its proximity to Austin. Located just 30 miles from the city, San Marcos is close enough to Austin to allow for regular visits, while also having a rich cultural life all its own. Many San Marcos residents commute into Austin for work – though new jobs are also springing up in the area, and housing costs are much lower than in Austin, which holds the title of most expensive Texas city.
Keeping Costs Down
Speaking of lower costs, San Marcos is appealing to both buyers and tenants relocating from other areas, or even from Austin proper because it’s an affordable area – though low housing stock means prices are on the rise. That’s a rare find in the Austin area, not just because the city is expensive, but because it’s also been one of the quickest areas to recover from COVID-related economic setbacks, with Forbes deeming Austin the fifth “most recovered” city in the US.
While recovery combined with low housing stock may be pushing San Marcos’s prices up, it’s also important to consider value in this equation. A major reason why people are relocating right now is that they no longer want to be trapped in small, urban apartments. Extended quarantine has revealed just how untenable such living situations are. By moving to an area like San Marcos, both homeowners and tenants can afford larger residential spaces for the same or less money, as well as more green space than they would have access to in the city.
Space As Selling Point
People have always moved to the suburbs to have more space to raise a family. This isn’t a new phenomenon produced by the post-COVID world. No, when we say that people are relocating because they need more space now, that refers as much to having room for a home office or gym as it does to more bedrooms and a backyard – so it’s important to leverage those aspects.
As you prepare your property for showings, consider staging a spare room – what might otherwise be a bedroom or a den – as an office space. People can, of course, project their own potential uses onto a space, but given how many employees hope to continue working from home post-pandemic, actively showing such a room can give you an advantage on the market. That simple office set-up will register during viewings and stay with interested parties long after they’ve walked out the front door.
Similarly, if you’re considering making a few upgrades to your property before bringing it to market, consider installing floor length mirrors in one room for a ready-made gym space; home gyms are one of the hottest trends in home improvement right now. Generally, it’s best to keep rental spaces neutral since turnover is faster among renters than owners, but plenty of rooms feature decorative mirrors. Besides, you never know – as with staging an office, such details could give your property a competitive edge.
Is This Shift Temporary?
There’s a lot of debate about how COVID-related relocations will play out in the long run. Will people choose to remain in smaller cities or suburbs, or will they go back to crowded urban centers? For an area like San Marcos that was already on the rise prior to the pandemic, such questions don’t matter much. Though still relatively small now, San Marcos has been the fastest growing city in the country since at least 2014. For investors, then, this isn’t a place where you could over-invest, only for the market to disappear. If anything, appraisals have been on the rise for several years and inexpensive homes are scarce – though you can still get a good deal on fixer uppers. In other words, if you’re ready to expand your holdings, there’s no time to lose.
Grow Your Business With Green Residential
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the ways COVID-19 has transformed the real estate industry? Or maybe you’re excited to be part of San Marcos’s growth, but not sure where to start? However, you’re feeling right now, you’re not alone. These are strange times, but that doesn’t mean you should put your business on hold. No, this is the perfect time to grow with help from Green Residential.
Green Residential brings over 40 years of experience to every management process, tackling tasks from marketing to tenant screening and maintenance, and we’re excited to support your property management needs. Contact us today to learn more about our suite of services and learn more about how we can work together.