Photography by N. Nehring/Getty Images

This year house hunters prioritized open-concept kitchens, finished basements, and spacious yards over location, location, location. But in 2021, our hunker-down-at-home mindset will shift (sort of). According to a new report from Realtor.com, people will be putting down roots in cities where they can find affordable homes but also pop into the office on occasion. In other words, flexibility will be everything in 2021. 

The hottest U.S. housing market next year is expected to be Sacramento, California. The capital is only 90 minutes northeast of ultra-expensive San Francisco, and for roughly $500,000 you can score a four-bedroom home in the suburbs. Seattle; San Jose, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Boise, Idaho (other places that have thrived as a result of the tech industry’s notable presence) will also be key hubs.

“Because prices in these markets are all higher than the U.S. median asking price, low mortgage rates are helping buyers,” says Danielle Hale, the site’s chief economist. Quality schools and access to nature in these areas will be another major draw, especially for millennials and young people starting families.

The trend of city dwellers heading to the suburbs and midsize cities will continue in 2021, but people will be more strategic about which neighborhoods they settle in, just in case they feel like sitting at their office desk one or two days out of the week. We can’t say we totally miss our commute, but we do miss the podcast bingeing that comes with it.

Our Fall Style issue has arrived! Subscribe now to get an exclusive first look at Ayesha Curry’s Bay Area home—and discover how design can shape our world.

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