Remote Work and Its Impact on Moving

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New research shows that remote work options post-pandemic will affect where Americans choose to live.

Remote workers are on the move, with more relocations to come, according to new research from Apartment List.

Its Remote Work Survey of 5,000 employed adults across the country found that 40% of workers expect some sort of remote work post-pandemic—21% said they expect to be fully remote and 19% expect a hybrid remote work environment. Just over half of the respondents will be onsite full time, and 7% are unsure.

According to Apartment List, 19% of remote workers moved during the past year, compared to 13% of onsite workers. Overall, 16% of respondents have moved since last April, with 57% remaining in the same city, 20% moving to a new metro and 12% crossing state lines.

Apartment List compared its findings to Census data that shows 9.8% of Americans moved to a new residence from 2018 to 2019, and although it acknowledges the data is not directly comparable to this survey, it says that this difference “nonetheless indicates that the pandemic seems to have prompted more moves over the past year than would typically occur.”

More than two-fifths of remote workers said they are planning to move in the next 12 months, while a quarter of onsite workers indicated the same. More than half of untethered workers, those with no homeownership or family obligations, plan to move within a year.

Reasons behind recent moves included more space, buying a home, reducing monthly costs and finding a more affordable market. For upcoming moves, remote workers were more than twice as likely to move for a more affordable housing market than onsite workers (35% to 17%). The top response for those planning a move—onsite and remote workers—was to purchase a home.

Among likely movers, access to affordable markets for homeownership was the most important factor on deciding where to live in the next several years. Meanwhile, the least important factor, overall, was access to urban amenities. That said, according to Apartment List, “…forward looking plans show that urban areas still have high appeal, and this is likely to grow as city-life begins to regain its vibrancy. This suggests that the places most likely to attract remote workers may be the ones that were already doing so pre-pandemic—markets such as Austin and Nashville that offer the urban amenities that remote workers value, at a significantly lower cost than coastal superstar cities.”

Read the full report.