Suburban Real Estate: A Thriving Opportunity for Investors

By Kevin Burrell, President of Estero and Buller River Development Partners

For years, the general consensus was that suburban rents were typically more affordable than their city counterparts. Today, however, the difference is not as pronounced as it once was, and here’s why this shift presents an exciting prospect for real estate investors.

Migration from Cities to Suburbs

The pandemic catalyzed a significant migration pattern. Professionals, empowered with remote work flexibility, transitioned from city dwellings to the suburbs. This shift wasn’t just about seeking larger spaces or green backyards but was influenced by factors such as escalating home prices, high mortgage rates, and urban challenges, including concerns over crime. Notably, while city rents saw an increase of 20% since March 2020, suburban areas experienced an impressive 27% hike.

Suburban Growth Taking the Lead

Major cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Seattle have seen significant rent escalations in their suburban regions ranging between 15% and 21%. Additionally, similar rent escalations are evident in secondary markets of Charlotte, NC, and Southwest Florida (SWFL). Overall, suburban rent growth outpaced that of cities by around 8 percentage points, narrowing the traditional rent disparity from 12% in 2019 to a mere 5.8% in 2022.

The Push from Escalating Home Prices

The dream of homeownership is becoming more elusive for many. With median home prices soaring past the $400,000 mark combined with rising mortgage rates, many Americans are finding homeownership out of reach. This situation translates to extended rental durations and less availability for those entering the market.

The Need for More Rentals 

Before the pandemic, there was an evident shortage of affordable rental units, with a deficit of around 6.8 million. As of 2023, efforts are in place to bridge this gap, with nearly a million new apartment projects underway. This surge in construction aims to address the shortage over the forthcoming years.


Key Insights for Investors
The evolving rental landscape underscores a significant paradigm shift. With the narrowing gap between urban and suburban rents and a dynamic affected by the pandemic, increasing home prices, and rental shortages, there lies immense opportunity for real estate investors. The trajectory suggests not only potential short-term gains but also long-term rewards as the market seeks equilibrium. As we observe new construction projects unfold, the expectation is a stabilization of rental prices. Still, the evolving rental economics forecast an equitable urban-suburban rental scene in the years to come.

For investors, this is the opportune moment to dive into suburban real estate, harnessing the momentum and tapping into a market brimming with potential. From the secondary markets of Charlotte to the vibrant communities of SWFL, opportunities abound. At Estero and Buller River Development Partners, we invite you to be a part of this transformative journey. Let’s shape the future of real estate together.