As we enter the fourth month of the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are still working remotely. Companies, anticipating the persistence of the virus, have extended their work from home policies into the fall. With the elimination of the morning commute, homeowners are beginning to question the importance of living close to work. Zillow and Redfin are predicting a suburban boom.
Is Virtual the New Reality?
The reality is that, even as restrictions lift, many corporations are cautious to bring employees back into the workplace–especially if working remotely is not affecting the bottom line. In an earlier article, we discussed the possibility that some businesses might choose not to return to the office at all. Zillow and Redfin explored this possibility, surveying Americans working from home regarding their attitudes towards telecommuting.
75% of people interviewed by Zillow would choose to continue telecommuting at least half of the time after the virus ends. When asked if they would consider moving if their company continued using telecommuting, 66% said they would. Redfin conducted a similar survey that was consistent with these findings. Half of their respondents, from cities including New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle, said that they consider moving out of the city if remote work became the new normal.
Why the Suburbs?
There are many reasons that people might be choosing to relocate to the suburbs. Without a commute, traffic is no longer a concern. If proximity to the workplace is no longer a benefit of living in the city, homeowners might reconsider whether or not it’s important to them to stay.
After months within the confines of their own homes, many are interested in the space offered by the suburbs, both in terms of square footage and yard space. Working from home has highlighted for many the benefit of having a personal office, or at least an area dedicated to work. Others are interested in having more room for their families to enjoy, as quarters have recently been tighter than ever. Many more long for outdoor space, which has become coveted during the quarantine. Regardless of their reasons, economists are predicting this migration to begin soon.
What Does This Mean for Memphis?
In Memphis, this could mean increased interest in areas like Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett, and even Millington. These areas offer more space than most neighborhoods within the city limits, but they might have previously been less appealing to people avoiding a commute. If working from home is part of the new normal for many, we could soon see them moving to these suburbs.
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