The COVID-19 pandemic has given over 50% of Americans the opportunity to work from home due to stay-at-home orders. A new report from Zillow
reveals that this could cause a suburban housing boom, as people may no longer need to work full-time in busier, crowded and more expensive metros.
Zillow conducted a survey which found that 75% of Americans working from home due to COVID-19 would prefer to continue that at least half the time, if the option was presented when the pandemic subsides. The survey also showed that 66% of employees working from home would somewhat likely consider moving if they had the flexibility to work from home as often as they want.
"Many employed Americans are trying to square the desire to work remotely with the functionality and size of their existing homes," according to the report. "Among employees who would be likely to consider moving, If given the flexibility to work from home when they want, nearly one-third say they would consider moving in order to live in a home with a dedicated office space (31%), to live in a larger home (30%), and to live in a home with more rooms (29%)."
Zillow Senior Principal Economist Skylar Olsen said: "Moving away from the central core has traditionally offered affordability at the cost of your time and gas money. Relaxing those costs by working remotely could mean more households choose those larger homes farther out, easing price pressure on urban and inner suburban areas. However, that means they'd also be moving farther from a wider variety of restaurants, shops, yoga studios and art galleries. Given the value many place on access to such amenities, we're not talking about the rise of the rural homesteader on a large scale. Future growth under broader remote work would still favor suburban communities or secondary cities that offer those amenities along with more spacious homes and larger lots."
In previous Zillow research, the company found that renters, buyers and sellers agreed the longest commute they'd be willing to make would be 30 minutes one way. In the most recent survey, 50% who would partially work at home would be open to a longer commute of 45 minutes or more.
In addition, living in major cities come with a steep price tag. Previous Zillow research found that buyers in the largest metro markets pay more per square foot for a home that is within 15-minute, rush-hour drive to downtown centers.