The work-from-home requirements created during the coronavirus pandemic could have a significant impact of homebuying for the coming year, according to data from a new Realtor.com-HarrisX survey of active buyers.
In a June poll of 2,000 potential home shoppers who indicated plans to make a purchase in the next year, 63% of those currently working from home stated their potential purchase was a result of their ability to work remotely, while nearly 40% that number expected to purchase a home within four to six months and 13% said changes related to pandemic fueled their interest in buying a new home.
More than 20% of the respondents who are buying because of remote work cited a home office as the most popular feature of their next residence—followed in popularity by a garage, a quiet location, an updated kitchen, a large backyard and an open floor plan. Half of the respondents did the majority of their work in a home office, while 15% set up their workspace in their bedroom, 13% in the living room, 12% at the kitchen table and 7% moved between rooms depending on where the rest of their family was located in the home. In order to accommodate work from home, 45% of respondents converted a room in their home to an office.
But when provided with the choice of working remotely or in an office setting, 52% stated they would prefer to work from their home and 39% wanted to return to the office, with 9% saying it made no difference to them. Still, with the states reopening their economies, 53% of respondents anticipated they will back in an office full-time while 22% expected a hybrid of in-office and remote work and 14% predicted they will remain as remote workers.
"The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers' geographic options and driving their motivation to buy, even if it means a longer commute, at least in the short term," said Realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu. "Although it's too early to tell what long-term impact the COVID-era of remote work will have on housing, it's clear that the pandemic is shaping how people live and work under the same roof."