45% of Consumers Say They’d Move if Bosses Continue to Allow Remote Work

The work-from-home trend may be translating into a need-a-new-home trend. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more people to work remotely, and as more people hunker down at home, they’re looking at real estate for a move.

Forty-five percent of consumers recently surveyed by Homes.com say they would move if given the chance to continue working remotely. Twenty percent of respondents also indicated that remote work was the reason why they moved within the last year. Homes.com surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and 600 real estate professionals to learn about moving patterns fueled by the pandemic.

“The surge in the work-from-home population has rewritten the playbook for many homebuying and rental decisions, from when and where to relocate, to what people are looking for in their next residence,” says David Mele, Homes.com president. “That, in turn, is prompting changes for real estate professionals, many of whom are expanding their market area to better serve clients who are moving farther than before. If working from home becomes standard operating procedure for many companies, as predicted, these changes will be with us for years to come.”

More Americans are no longer bound to lengthy commutes to city centers as remote work grows. That is freeing them to choose new locations to live, as well. Thirty-two percent of real estate professionals surveyed reported an uptick in city-to-suburb moves, and 23% said they were fielding fewer requests for housing near public transportation or highways.

Instead, more consumers want to move farther out. Forty percent of consumer respondents said they have moved or plan to move more than 100 miles away, and half of those respondents are moving more than 500 miles away.

The pandemic is prompting moves that consumers hadn’t planned for either. One out of three consumers who moved in the last 12 months said they did not plan to move prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. About a quarter of those who’ve relocated or plan to do so soon say their decision to move is being sparked by a change in their job situation.

Desired home features are also changing in the pandemic. The most common preferences real estate agents say they’re noticing are requests for home offices, larger square footage, outdoor recreational spaces (such as pools, hot tubs, and decks), and upgraded kitchens.