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One-Third Of Homebuyers Open To Moving If Remote Work Becomes Permanent

Navi Persaud
Jan 12, 2021
Family packing up to move.

Folks aren't too optimistic about heading back into the office anytime soon. One-third of homebuyers have already relocated due to remote work conditions pushed forth by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, according to Redfin. Another third has stated that they would relocate if remote working conditions became permanent.

Redfin conducted a survey in November and December 2020 of more than 1,400 people who bought or sold a home in the previous 12 months or plan to buy or sell a home in the next 12 months, across 32 of the company's major U.S. housing markets.

"We haven't seen the end of pandemic-driven relocation; there will be a second wave of migration this year as permanent remote workers are able to let lifestyle preferences and affordability rather than proximity to the office dictate where they live," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. "As homebuyers who want more space for their money continue to move into suburban and rural areas, local governments will need to allow more homes to be built to accommodate them. Remote workers will continue to leave New York and San Francisco, which means homes in those places may become a bit more affordable, a development that could eventually attract new residents or allow local renters to become homeowners."

Broken down by distance, 30% of respondents said they have already moved less than 50 miles away from their former home and 23% would like to move less than 50 miles away, according to Redfin. Just 4% of respondents have moved more than 50 miles away and 10% would like to move more than 50 miles away.

In terms of income, the report revealed that 44% of people earning more than $150,000 per year have already moved to a different city or area, a significantly higher share than any other income group. Meanwhile, 24% of people earning $50,000 to $74,000 per year have already moved or would like to.

The overall outlook for heading back into the office isn't too high with more than 70% of homebuyers and sellers expecting remote work conditions to continue post-pandemic.

"Although some people will return to offices this year as vaccines roll out, many more workers will remain remote," Fairweather said. "We expect even more homebuyers to be moving out of town this year as they solidify their remote-work plans."

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