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How Remote Working Is Impacting Homebuyer Sentiment

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."

About Author: Phil Hall

Phil Hall is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News, the author of nine books, the host of the award-winning SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show," co-host of the award-winning WAPJ-FM talk show "Nutmeg Chatter" and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Wired, The Hill's Congress Blog and Profit Confidential. His real estate finance writing has been published in the ABA Banking Journal, Secondary Marketing Executive, Servicing Management, MortgageOrb, Progress in Lending, National Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional America, Canadian Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional News, Mortgage Broker News and HousingWire.

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