Is the current Covid-19 pandemic a catalyst for mass movement out of urban areas? Short answer: It depends. Will it have a great effect on Madison? Short Answer: It already has.
We are currently seeing buyers coming in from Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. One would expect the move from Chicago – we’ve worked with countless buyers from Illinois over the years. What hasn’t been common are buyers who have called stating that they live in a 800 sf apartment in a high rise in “you name the city” and since they can now work from anywhere they want to buy a single family home here where they have some room to breath. Some are doing this because of it’s central location without being a major metropolitan area. Some have a connection to the area and want to move back. For some, that is moving back “home” or perhaps they graduated from the UW and have fond memories of our city. Proximity to family has become even more important in this current climate where most travel has stopped.
Many pundits and the media are contemplating the long term impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic. CNN reports that many city dwellers are rethinking where they want to live given how the pandemic has hit major metropolitan areas. This is likely very true in places like New York City or Chicago. The cost of living is very high and these areas have a lot of high-density housing creating a breeding ground for viral transmission. This particular report also mentions the narrative is very different in LA where “urban sprawl” of single-family homes has somewhat limited the rapid spread of the disease. It also mentions a movement to more “lifestyle rich” cities such as Nashville and Austin.
I want to discuss the term “lifestyle rich” cities. It would seem that they are somewhat characterized by climate. Both Nashville and Austin have more temperate climates. Is climate the determining factor or does size matter as well? I’d like to make a case for Madison being a “lifestyle rich” city. Madison and surrounding Dane county have a strong economy, large university, the state capitol. robust hospital system, and booming tech sector that brings people from all over the world to live, work, and learn.
I moved to Madison approximately 15 years ago. My husband took a job that he was very excited about. I understood his motivation but, I wasn’t feeling it! I did not want to move from our little neighborhood in Colorado. We were just a short drive into Denver or Boulder. I enjoyed all of the college town activities and overall laid back vibe. We had tons of eclectic shopping, diverse restaurants, and plenty of outdoor activities. We experienced all four seasons and had an average of 300 days of sunshine per year! I DID NOT want to move!
After 15 years of calling Madison (or specifically Middleton) home, I have come to appreciate many things about our area. I do miss the sunshine, but this is not specific to Madison, it is a midwest thing. Sunshine and average temperatures aside – I think Madison has something to offer everyone and is very much a “lifestyle rich” city.
Summers in Madison are epic! The lakes provide so much entertainment whether you are a water sports enthusiast or just enjoying the lakeside or from the terrace. The farmer’s market is still considered the Largest producer-only Farmers’ Market in the Country and runs April through November. We take it indoors during the colder months. It seems like every weekend hosts a different festival in a different neighborhood. From market to restaurant to shopping – we do local in a BIG way. We have year-round activities in Madison. Madisonians don’t hibernate over the winter months – we move all year round. Even in the winter months we fat tire bike, snowshoe, ski, snowboard, XC ski, snowmobile, ice fish, race (I should use the term “they” here as I don’t run any time of year), sled, ice races (as in cars, bikes, and sailboats!). You get the point. Madison is full of museums, comedy clubs, music venues, microbreweries, and distilleries. There is always something to do in and around town (regardless of the temperature)!
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Moving to Madison for more information!