Remote Work Expected to Fuel Housing Demand for Years to Come

Remote work will fuel housing demand for years to come as people who no longer have to be at their workplace five days a week prioritize affordability and space over a short commute, asserts Zillow from a new survey.

Large numbers of workers report that various aspects of working from home are now very or extremely important to them, such as control over their life and their time (69%), and the freedom to live where they want (64%).

The desire is particularly strong with Millennial and Gen Z workers. In these groups, 50% told the poll they’re at least somewhat likely to consider getting a new job if they end up working in person more often than they would like

After many workers spent a year and a half working from home, an overwhelming number of workers in general want to keep that flexibility once the pandemic has ended. Zillow’s survey finds 84% of US workers want to work remotely at least a few days a month, and 44% want to work from home all the time, according to the report

The “want” is hampered by the uncertainty of what their post Covid-19 workplace will look like.

“More than one-third say the uncertainty is impacting their ability to make decisions about their lives…Nearly 40% of US workers (39%) still don’t know if or how often they’ll be working in person,” Zillow reports.

Remote working is particularly benefitting first time homebuyers and renters of color, Zillow notes.

Additionally, the report said in the most expensive metros, buyers are prioritizing affordability over commute times, with areas 60‒90 minutes outside the city center experiencing the fastest home value growth with pandemic-era movers seeking larger, more affordable homes.

Affordability has been challenging for many renters, Zillow said in an August report.

Rents grew 9.2% year-over-year in July, the largest monthly increase in the Zillow Observed Rent Index (ZORI) since it began in 2015.

This pushed rents beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Nine of the nation’s 50 largest metros—Tampa, Riverside, Las Vegas, Jacksonville, Memphis, Phoenix, Virginia Beach, Atlanta and Miami—saw rent levels 10% higher than their projected rent levels for July based on pre-pandemic trends. Rents in Tampa led the way at 15.6% higher.