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One-Third of Remote Workers Relocated During the Pandemic

The new era of pandemic-fueled remote work will continue to impact housing relocation trends in 2021, according to a survey [1] published by Redfin.

In a poll conducted during November and December of more than 1,400 people who either bought or sold a home in the previous 12 months or planned to buy or sell in the next 12 months across 32 major housing markets, two-thirds of respondents reported they moved or would consider moving to a different city if given the opportunity for permanent remote work. Slightly more than one-third of respondents (34%) already relocated during the pandemic while 33% stated they would like to move.

Income plays a major role in relocation plans. The survey found 44% of people earning more than $150,000 per year have already moved to a different city or area, compared to 24% of people earning $50,000 to $74,000 per year who either moved or wanted to move.

More than 70% of survey respondents expected remote work to continue in the post-pandemic era while 17% of respondents who are working remotely did not expect their current set-up would continue.

“We haven’t seen the end of pandemic-driven relocation; there will be a second wave of migration this year as permanent remote workers are able to let lifestyle preferences and affordability rather than proximity to the office dictate where they live,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “As homebuyers who want more space for their money continue to move into suburban and rural areas, local governments will need to allow more homes to be built to accommodate them.”

Redfin also brought a political element to the survey and found 33% of Biden voters believed migration would make the country less divided, compared to 27% who believed it will make the country more divided. For Trump voters, 20% believe migration will dilute partisan divisions and 31% said it would exacerbate the current political climate.

As for whether the current trend of Americans moving from expensive coastal areas to relatively affordable parts of the country would make the country less divided, 27% of respondents said that it would while another 27% believed it would create more divisions. Fairweather added that the exodus of residents from expensive coastal markets could spur a new wave of affordability opportunities.

“Remote workers will continue to leave New York and San Francisco, which means homes in those places may become a bit more affordable, a development that could eventually attract new residents or allow local renters to become homeowners,” she said.