U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 33 mins
  • S&P Futures

    -14.50 (-0.38%)
  • Dow Futures

    -96.00 (-0.32%)
  • Nasdaq Futures

    -47.25 (-0.41%)
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    -7.20 (-0.41%)
  • Crude Oil

    -0.09 (-0.10%)
  • Gold

    +3.60 (+0.21%)
  • Silver

    +0.01 (+0.05%)

    -0.0099 (-0.9887%)
  • 10-Yr Bond

    0.0000 (0.00%)
  • Vix

    -0.13 (-0.45%)

    -0.0193 (-1.6776%)

    +0.4830 (+0.3350%)

    -12.15 (-0.06%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    -0.84 (-0.18%)
  • FTSE 100

    -10.56 (-0.15%)
  • Nikkei 225

    +190.77 (+0.70%)

COVID-19 makes car-dependent neighborhoods more popular: study

·2 min read

Car sales are booming during the coronavirus pandemic — and suburban neighborhoods where driveways are more common than buses — are booming, too.

More than ever before, Americans are buying homes in neighborhoods where most errands, like going to the grocery store, require a car, according to a new study by Seattle-based listing site Redfin, which compared home sales with neighborhoods’ walk score. Redfin defines a neighborhood as “walkable” if some or most errands can be accomplished on foot, while “car dependent” means most errands require a car.

“When everything is closed — offices, shops, restaurants — walkability doesn’t carry a premium anymore,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, referring to coronavirus lockdowns across the nation.

Modern suburban houses.
Car-dependent homes have become pricier, according to new data by Redfin. Credit: Getty Images

In the biggest annual increase since Redfin started tracking the data in 2014, car-dependent neighborhoods had a 14.9% increase in home prices in October compared to the same time last year, reaching a median price of $345,000.

Meanwhile, fewer homeowners in car-dependent neighborhoods sold their homes during the pandemic, with supply down almost 40% in October compared to the same time last year. In walkable areas, inventory was down only 10% compared to the same time last year, Redfin found.

“It makes sense that car-dependent neighborhoods would see stronger price growth right now since people are leaving dense urban areas for suburban car-dependent neighborhoods,” said Fairweather, who noted that “prices in walkable neighborhoods are still doing quite well.” Prices for homes in walkable neighborhoods, which were more expensive than car-dependent homes before the pandemic, recorded an 11.3% increase to $383,000.


Car-dependent areas tend to be more affordable and offer larger square footage and yards, making them more attractive to Americans sheltering-in-place during the pandemic. Coupled with data on U.S. car sales during the pandemic — new car and truck sales rose 30% in the second quarter, according to car-selling platform Edmunds — suggests that Americans are building their lives around social distance-friendly transportation.

“People are avoiding public transportation and walking around in public. It’s more nerve wracking. They are turning to cars more now, and they want to have nice garages [for the cars],” said Fairweather.

Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.

More from Sarah:

Fewer Americans are optimistic about the housing market

What to expect from commercial real estate in 2021

San Francisco rent hits historic lows but city still most expensive in US

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.

Find live stock market quotes and the latest business and finance news

For tutorials and information on investing and trading stocks, check out Cashay