Will one legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic be a shift from urban and inner-suburban areas to the outer suburbs and rural areas? Some Virginia real-estate professionals think so.

The Virginia Realtors trade group in mid-June queried its membership on the post-pandemic housing market, receiving responses from 760 members.

More than a third of respondents (35.8 percent) say the pandemic will have an impact on the types of communities buyers will be seeking out.

“In particular, Realtors say that they think home buyers will be more likely to look for homes in rural areas than they were before COVID-19,” said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for Virginia Realtors.

More than three-quarters of those who think buyers will have different priorities said they will be focusing on rural areas (76 percent), followed by suburban communities (56.6 percent). Less than 2 percent of respondents thought urban areas and cities would be the prime focus.

(While 35.8 percent of respondents said buyers would be looking for different types of communities, a plurality – 42.2 percent – said they wouldn’t, while the remaining 22 percent were not sure.)

In the survey, just under one in three respondents (31.2 percent) say home-buyers will be focused on different kinds of amenities in their homes.

At the top of that list was a home office (85.7 percent), followed by outdoor space (70 percent). Smaller percentages (35 to 40 percent) said buyers would be seeking out larger homes and technology-enhanced homes, while about 30 percent said they would be looking for a finished basement and/or an exercise room.

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