Remote Work to Drive Home Purchase Decisions in the Next Six Months

Many families quickly adjusted their current living space to accommodate working from home, but those who expect the change to be permanent are likely to pull the trigger on a new home purchase in the next six months, according to a HarrisX survey of active home shoppers released today.

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Of the 2,000 home shoppers surveyed in June who plan to purchase a home in the next year,  63 percent of those currently working from home indicated their decision to buy a new house was a result of their ability to work remotely. Nearly 40 percent of those who said remote work was fueling their search expected to purchase a home within four to six months, and 13 percent said changes related to COVID prompted their desire to purchase a new home.

Having a home office is very important for people who work remotely, but not at the exclusion of more conventional features. Over 20 percent of respondents who are buying because of remote work say that having a home office is important to them and a home office was the most chosen new home feature. Similar to overall home buyers, the five next most popular features were a garage, a quiet location, an updated kitchen, a large backyard, and an open floor plan.

“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® 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.”

Today’s remote work snapshot

According to the data, nearly 40 percent of currently employed respondents are currently working from home as a result of COVID. Thirty-five percent of respondents were remote employees before COVID happened and 28 percent are still going into their place of employment.

When given the choice of working remotely or in an office setting 52 percent of remote workers indicated they prefer to work from home. Interestingly, 39 percent prefer to work in an office setting and 9 percent said it makes no difference to them.

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Accommodating remote work at home
With entire families at home, finding a quiet place for work or school has been challenging for many. Fifty percent of respondents do the majority of their work in a home office. Fifteen percent work in their bedroom, 13 percent in the living room, 12 percent at the kitchen table and 7 percent move from room to room depending on where their family is.

In order to accommodate work from home, 45 percent of respondents converted a room in their home to an office. Thirty-six percent created a home office space and 28 percent updated their existing office space with a new monitor, chair, etc. Only 7 percent have not made any accommodations or already had a good office set up at home.

Majority of respondents anticipate some aspect of remote work in the future

With many companies and schools pushing back return dates, especially as new COVID outbreaks continue to increase across certain regions of the country, 53 percent anticipated that they will be working in an office full-time. Approximately one in five, 22 percent, of those surveyed expect a mix of in-office and remote work, while 14 percent responded they don’t anticipate ever returning to the office.

Flexibility also seemed an option among survey respondents, with 63 percent indicating that their employer will be open to remote work in some capacity. Of these respondents, 40 percent stated that their employer permitted a mix of office and remote work and 16 percent said their employer permitted remote work entirely. Only 37 percent indicated they are required to be in the office full time.

Of those stating that they will resume going into the office either full or part time, 40 percent anticipated it would be within the next three months, while 46 percent thought it would be within the next three to six months. Thirteen percent thought they would return in 2021 and 2 percent said never.

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