More than half of employed Americans have tasted the freedom of working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, and they like it. This may permanently shift where we prefer to work and live and in turn impact city and suburban real estate markets.
Most Americans in this group, 75 percent, say they would prefer to continue their at-home work at least half the time after the pandemic subsides, if given the option, according to a new survey conducted last week by The Harris Poll for Zillow.
By contrast, before COVID-19 only 7 percent of civilian workers could choose to work from home as a workplace benefit, though 40 percent worked in jobs that could be performed remotely, reports the Pew Research Center.
This newly found remote work experience has dominated our lives over recent months and given many Americans a new view of work that opens up options for good locations to live.
“The experience of being at home for a long period of time has everyone rethinking their priorities,” says Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “People are recognizing space is more important, so they’re looking for more affordable areas where they can have more space at the same price.”
Where people choose to live has long been tied to where they work, which used to translate into a home that provided a work commute no longer than 30 minutes. Over the past decade, this requirement caused extreme home value growth in coastal job centers, which in turn precipitated an affordability crisis.
But workers experiencing the pros of video chats instead of in-person meetings could broaden where homebuyers shop for a home. Half of those able to do their job from home say they would be open to a commute time to work of up to 45 minutes or longer. This willingness to live farther from work may translate into a post-pandemic recovery that mitigates over-amped housing demand in larger cities and drives a boom in smaller cities and exurbs.
Those living in small, costly city apartments may be willing to trade easy access to their workplace and public transportation for a larger home in a smaller city or suburb when it no longer comes with the worry of increased time and costs of a daily commute.
In fact, nearly one-third of the 2,065 surveyed say they would consider moving in order to live in a home with a dedicated office space, to live in a larger home, and to live in a home with more rooms.
The Harris Poll survey was conducted online from May 4 to 6, 2020. For more information see the Forbes story “Rise in Remote Work Could Spark a New Suburban Boom.”
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in residential and commercial real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit boulderco.com.