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Forget the Suburbs! Now’s the Best Time to Move Into a City, a New Report Shows

How to negotiate the best deal from your dream home’s landlord.

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We’ve heard it again and again: Everyone is fleeing big cities for larger, greener homes in the suburbs—and they’re correct. However, the inverse is also true: Now is the best time to move into a metropolis. According to a new report by the National Association of Realtors, buyers living in the outskirts or distant neighborhoods of most areas are seizing the opportunity to scoop something up while the market is affordable.In the halcyon days of 2019, finding an apartment in the trendy areas of town required substantially cutting back on other things: square footage, windows, running water (kidding…kind of). If there is literally any silver lining to COVID-19, it’s that a lack of demand has caused real-estate prices to drop. In New York someone who could previously afford a one-bedroom in Astoria, Queens, can now look in artsy SoHo. In Atlanta those who were in the farther reaches of town in Dekalb County are house hunting in more central Summerhill for a similar budget. Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and plenty of others all show the same trend. 

Landlords are also willing to accept offers below asking price—something previously hard to come by. At the viewing, ask the real-estate agent how long the listing has been on the market. If it’s been a few months, feel free to put in an offer a few hundred dollars a month below the price they are leasing it for. You can check StreetEasy’s and Zillow’s history reports for bargaining material, as well. 

This opportunity doesn’t just apply to renters. The average mortgage loans reached a new record of $395,200 recently, and higher-priced regions in major markets like Miami and Los Angeles are still performing well, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. If you’re on the fence about making the most of the buyer’s market, skip the hype of suburban property and double down on the urban loft of your dreams.

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