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A big market niche: City dwellers moving to suburbs

 

NEW YORK CITY – March 29, 2016 – City dwellers confronted with a lack of space and high costs are moving to the suburbs. But it can be an adjustment. To make the transition easier, some real estate firms offer seminars and bill themselves as "suburb specialists" to help buyers make a decision.

In New York, real estate professionals are teaming up with suburban agents to offer seminars and "immersive tours" of the suburbs, The New York Times reports. The seminars dive into the concerns of families who are hesitant about leaving the city and offer step-by-step guidance on how to make the jump to suburbia.

"I've been referring to these people as reluctant urban defectors, because they don't want to leave," says Oliver Gold, a sales associate at Douglas Elliman who with a business partner created custom tours of the suburbs for city clients. "It's a real weighing of the pros and cons: 'Can I live in that three-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up with one bathroom, or do I want to make the move?' … I tell everyone that brings this up to me, 'We don't revoke your citizenship when you go to the suburbs. You're allowed back.'"

A real estate advisory firm called Suburban Jungle also works with those who live in the city to help potential buyers find the right suburb to fit their lifestyle. The service expanded last year beyond just New York with offices now in San Francisco and Chicago.

Clients who take part fill out questionnaires, which include questions like:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • What did you love/hate about each place?
  • What's your ideal commute?
  • What things are most important to you in a community?

Participants are then assigned a "suburb strategist," who works with them and suggests towns to explore. The service is free and clients are later referred to real estate professionals in the town they choose. (Suburban Jungle receives payment from a portion of the commission if the referred agent then sells a home.)

However, some real estate professionals offer their own events or seminars specifically catered to city dwellers being priced out of the city and unsure where to move. Some agents talk about their own experience moving from city to suburb to help others make the adjustment.

"The overall message: Life isn't so terrible in the 'burbs," The New York Times writes. "In addition to highlighting the better real estate values, each broker emphasized the cultural attractions, farmers' markets and culinary options of their respective neighborhoods."

Source: "From the City to the 'Burbs, Step-by-Step," The New York Times (March 25, 2016)

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Related Topics: Marketing