Remote Work and Mobility
Working from home became the reality for many individuals during the pandemic, and the latest list from the CRE identified remote work and mobility as an important influence on the real estate market. As the report notes:
“…the pandemic universally caused a movement away from urban cores, particularly for those with higher incomes who could afford to move and for lower-income individuals seeking lower costs of living. Most of these relocations remained within their original region—84%—and, while some are returning, it is unknown as to the permanence of these movements or whether they represent a true urban exodus.”
With the added mobility remote work offers, where people are moving and where they can ultimately purchase a home is less dependent on a physical office location. This newfound flexibility is giving remote workers the opportunity to move to more affordable areas and buy more home for their money.
Working from Home Isn’t a Passing Fad
Before the pandemic, only 21% of individuals worked from home. However, if you’ve recently discovered remote work is your new normal, you’re not alone.
A survey of hiring managers conducted by Statista and Upwork projects 37.5% of U.S. workers will work remotely in some capacity over the next 5 years (see chart below):
Working from Home Gives You More Flexibility and More Options
If you fall in that category, working from home may provide you with opportunities you didn’t realize you had. The ongoing rise in remote work means a portion of the workforce no longer needs to be tied to a specific area for their job. Instead, it gives those workers more flexibility when it comes to where they can live.
If you’re one of the nearly 23% of workers who will remain 100% remote, you have the option to move to a lower cost-of-living area or to the location of your dreams. If you search for a home in a more affordable area, you’ll be able to get more house for your money, freeing up more options for your dedicated office space and more breathing room. You could also move to an area you’ve always dreamed of vacationing in – somewhere near the beach, the mountains, or simply an area that features better weather and community amenities. Without your job tying you to a specific location, you’re bound to find your ideal spot.
If you’re one of the almost 15% of individuals who will have a partially remote or hybrid schedule, relocating within your local area to a home that’s further away from your office could be a great choice. Since you won’t be going into work every day, a slightly longer commute from a more suburban or rural area could be a worthy trade-off for a home with more features, space, or comforts. After all, if you’ll still be at home part-time, why not find a home that better suits your needs?
According to the latest Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate from The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), many homebuyers are already taking advantage of their newfound flexibility:
“. . . after years of apparent but variant trends towards urbanization, the pandemic universally caused a movement away from urban cores, particularly for those with higher incomes who could afford to move and for lower-income individuals seeking lower costs of living.”
Technology Acceleration and Innovation
The past year ushered in many changes to the real estate industry, especially when it comes to technology. The CRE report elaborates on this:
“Lockdown-driven changes in our work, in the economy, in social structures, and in our personal behavior have pushed our reluctance aside. The acceleration and adoption of technology during the pandemic has impacted everything, and real estate is no exception.”
For real estate, innovations like digital documentation, virtual tours, and video chat enable agents to connect with clients no matter their location. These options are ideal for prospective buyers and sellers who aren’t local to the area or those that need the added flexibility signing documents online or doing virtual tours provide. That’s why many trusted real estate advisors will continue to use these technologies moving forward to best serve their clients.
Housing Supply and Affordability
Finally, the limited supply of houses for sale and the related affordability challenges also makes CRE’s list of key factors this year:
“According to the National Association of Realtors®, the state of America’s housing inventory is dire, with a chronic shortage of affordable and available homes needed to support the nation’s population.”
There is good news. Homes are still more affordable than they have been historically thanks to today’s low mortgage rates. And while housing supply is still low, we’re seeing steady increases in the number of homes coming to market, which gives hope to homebuyers. As the supply of homes for sale improves, buyers will have more options.