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Work-From-Home Trend Changing the RE Market

NEW YORK – More people are working from home, and that’s having a big effect on their real estate needs, The New York Times reports. About 24% of employed people in the U.S. worked at home at least part of the time last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among those with advanced degrees, 42% worked from home part of the time.

In a separate survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting of 23,000 new home shoppers, about 30% of respondents said they worked at home between one and four days a week; 13% worked at home full time.

Real estate experts point to a growth in home offices as well as migration-pattern changes away from cities as a potential impact of telecommuting’s growth.

“The importance of home offices has almost begun to rival the attention that buyers give to kitchens,” says Robin Kencel, an associate broker with Compass in Greenwich, Conn. “Where they will work is on nearly every buyer’s mind.”

But the spaces don’t have to be overly formal, adds Kencel. “People are looking for more of a textured, comfortable feeling – natural light, doors to a private terrace, and great wall and floor finishes,” she says.

Buyers also want flexible spaces that can serve more than one purpose, says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders.

Americans are also moving less often, which could be another result of the work-at-home trend. The average household moves every nine years currently compared to every six years in the 1980s, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

“If you work at home, you don’t necessarily have to move if your job moves,” says Rick Palacios Jr., director of research at John Burns. “And many companies, ours included, view e-commuting as a competitive advantage that allows us to attract the best and brightest, regardless of geography.”

Source: “Seven Ways Telecommuting Has Changed Real Estate,” The New York Times (Sept. 20, 2019)

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