Facebook pixel A New Wave of Migration: Alumnus Cary Bren Details the Pulse of Housing Market | Alumni | Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

A New Wave of Migration: Alumnus Cary Bren Details the Pulse of Housing Market

California Pacific Homes

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting almost every industry this year, it’s no surprise to see the housing market is making a dramatic shift. Many people are migrating to various locations across the country, as the pandemic is spurring a “work from home” normalcy that allows employees to work from virtually anywhere. Alumnus Cary Bren (BS '81, SC; MBA '98, PKE 98, GBS) sees this significant migration as president of California Pacific Homes. Cary is a double Pepperdine alum, pursuing his undergraduate degree with Seaver College, earning a bachelor’s in business—later receiving his Presidents and Key Executives MBA degree with Graziadio. Cary is innately drawn to the housing industry—as he is incredibly passionate about marketing, design, and architecture. These passions drew him to work for California Pacific Homes straight out of college.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, Cary is witnessing radical changes that are a new development within the housing market. Residents are looking for more modern homes with additional space, as the virtual working environment may become permanent for many. As a result of this work from home lifestyle, individuals have less of a need to be in the city and can relocate to quieter, more rural areas that provide a different lifestyle comfort. He has also seen a significant migration into Irvine, California, as many residents are looking to escape the densely populated city life in areas like Los Angeles. Regions like Irvine offer various amenities—better school districts, more safety, and a higher quality of living. These are increasingly attractive aspects to homebuyers, especially working from home, allowing employees to take advantage of rural living conditions. 

As the pandemic continues throughout the country, Cary thinks mortgage rates will continue to remain at all-time lows, and the housing demand will continue to grow. For those seeking to buy a new home during this time, it is best to consider all options before making a final decision—as homes are a large financial commitment. As well, for those who are ready to buy, this time can be used to take advantage of low-interest rate mortgage loans and potentially get “more house for your money.” Only time will tell how the housing market and industry changes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but for now, the housing market is roaring strong with continuous demand. 

Tell us about your background and history with Graziadio.

I have been in home building and residential development with California Pacific Homes since 1981. I was a Pepperdine graduate with a B.S. in Business and then later completed my PKE program in 1997.

What drew you to work for California Pacific Homes?

California Pacific Homes was a family business that I joined after college. I have a real passion for design, architecture, and marketing.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the housing industry? Do you think this will create a permanent change?

COVID-19 has brought several changes to the housing market for new homes.  Homebuyers are looking for additional space for a home office or virtual learning center.  People are also relocating more to suburbs and looking for a single-family detached home. I believe these changes will continue in the future.

Why do you think people are migrating to Irvine over other locations in Southern California?

Homebuyers are moving from cities out of the Irvine market to get away from a higher density, better school districts, safety, and a better lifestyle to live, work, and play.

What advice do you have for home buyers during unprecedented times?

The housing market has changed dramatically since the second quarter of this year.  The housing supply is meager today, and the mortgage rates are near record lows, boosting demand for homes. It seems mortgage rates should stay low for the time being.