The growing trend of working remotely could untether Americans from office spaces in pricey areas and prompt them to buy homes elsewhere. Home sales in the suburbs as well as smaller, less expensive cities could see a boost that continues beyond pre-pandemic levels, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Some tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and Square, have already announced that they will allow select employees to work remotely full time. They expect half of their workforce to work remotely within five to 10 years. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that about 75% of his employees have already expressed an interest in moving to a different city if they could work remotely.
The insurance company Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, has announced a permanent transition to working from home for some of its employees as well as a hybrid work model for others. That hybrid model includes working from smaller brick-and-mortar offices that will remain open.
The increased opportunity to work remotely could make it easier for workers who had been priced out of large coastal cities to move elsewhere to buy a home.
Younger generations have been purchasing homes at lower rates than previous generations. Less than 37% of people under the age of 35 owned homes last year, according to Census Bureau data. In cities like the Bay Area, where home prices are among the highest in the nation, many young adults have been priced out, even those earning high income.
Some of these young adults may be financially ready to launch into homeownership in a more affordable market, housing experts say. For example, the average age of a Facebook employee is 29 years old and their median pay as of 2018 was more than $240,000, according to data from Payscale. “Now could be the time for younger workers to start putting the matchmaking skills of online real estate platforms to the test,” The Wall Street Journal reports.