Key Highlights

  • Remote working may provide opportunity to be both urbanite and suburbanite when needed and wanted
  • Increased demand in “spillover” cities like Seattle and Austin
  • Hybrid work models are “reshuffling” location strategies

Some home industry analysts point to remote working spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the demand uptick in suburban and exurban locations. Other analysts point to the pandemic’s shelter-in-place restrictions that kept people inside and climbing their four walls 24/7.

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Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, told Kelly Evans on CNBC’s “The Exchange” that people, particularly those workers who are able to work remotely, are “over the pandemic” and simply want to spend more on their homes without having to pay high taxes on those homes in high tax cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.

“We’re seeing a real dispersion of Americans right now. People are refiguring where they want to live,” said Kelman.

Zillow CEO and co-founder Rich Barton is calling the imminent changes in where and how workers live their lives “the great reshuffling.” Zillow’s chief economist, Svenja Gudell says she expects people to maintain a connection with their cities but that “…they (will) opt for an ‘extension cord’ into suburbs and exurbs that allows them to live with more space…” more outside areas and a home office.

JP Morgan economists point to a greater share of, again remote, Millennials who have been “holed up in major metro areas longer than their Gen-X predecessors” now being ready to go to the suburbs. Just look at the average Facebook employee who is 29 years old and, according to the research firm Payscale, earning a median pay of over $240,000. These remote workers can certainly afford to live in “second city” beautiful homes without having to spend the majority of their earnings on housing costs and taxes in so-called “first cities” that have essentially done nothing to provide affordable housing.

Whatever the reasons, most housing industry professionals are seeing an urgent “reshuffling” or “dispersion” to suburbs, exurbs and “second cities” by those who are able to do their work from anywhere.

Thanks to CNBC and MansionGlobal.

Also read: Coronavirus Now Reality in Real Estate Dealings, Zillow’s “Tumultuously Remarkable” Q4 2019, 38.6M Unemployed Since March & Hardest Hit Cities by Pandemic