Moving and Migration Patterns Shift Significantly in Wake of the Pandemic

Given the endurance of COVID-19, businesses nationwide have shifted their ways of working. Months later, the result is a comfortably settled, remote workforce with the necessary infrastructure intact. Upwork’s recently published study, “Economist Report: Remote Workers on the Move” suggests this new way of working is here to stay.

 

Several months into the pandemic, remote work has turned into a long-term reality for businesses nationwide. With stay-at-home orders and lockdown measures in flux (and case counts hitting record highs at the time of this publication), many professionals continue to work from home. According to Upwork’s recently published study, “Economist Report: Remote Workers on the Move,” the virus’ endurance — along with findings from early survey results — indicate remote work is here to stay. 

This, to put it mildly, affects more than just careers — it impacts home life, how we feel about it and where we live, too.

Surely, there are benefits — non-existent commutes and virtual versus in-person meetings, for example. More importantly, though, the current work climate has opened the door to job opportunities outside of one’s local labor market. 

Not surprisingly, remote work has accordingly impacted where people opt — or plan — to live. Between 6.9% and 11.5% of American households — up to 23 million Americans  — are planning a move due to the growing availability of remote work on account of COVID-19. Think these numbers are a fluke? Upwork’s results were then checked against two additional, smaller surveys. They produced similar results. 

 

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Significant Findings

On top of the workplace going virtual, overall migration patterns are expected to be about four times what’s typically seen. Not surprisingly, the biggest piece of that is people who are moving out of major cities (20.6%). 

 

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Upwork then asked respondents about the distance of their moves. The response? A whopping 41.5% planned to move more than four hours away and 13.2% intended to live within two- to-four hours’ distance, suggesting an increasing divide in where people work and where they reside. In other words, those moves (54.7% of the total prediction) really are not commutable — even if/when in-office work at their current jobs kicks in.

That begs the question, where are they moving, and why? According to housing market data, 52.5% are seeking significantly more affordable housing. Rental data from Apartments.com concurs, revealing 10% of the most expensive markets saw a 13% decrease in rent prices compared to rental markets in the least expensive 10%.

 

Many People Are on the Move

As more Americans settle into the work-from-home culture (47% of Americans work remotely, as surveyed by LendingTree), Upwork notes the top three spaces used for working purposes are dedicated office spaces (42%), living rooms (19%) and bedrooms (18%). Of respondents, 8% of said they used shared office space; 7% worked at their kitchen tables; 3% used a guest room; 2% said they worked outdoors; and 2% utilized other spaces in their homes.

 

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As one might expect, homeowners were more likely than renters to work primarily in a dedicated home office. Renters, by contrast, largely worked in their living rooms. That translated into 75% of homeowners saying they were satisfied with their work-from-home situation, compared to 44% of renters.

 

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Properties of Choice

When the pandemic hit and our houses became a gym, playground, school and office overnight, it altered what buyers sought — and valued — in their homes. Now, builders are predicting future builds will change as a result. A demand for more privacy and more space is likely to drive building decisions.

Previous Zillow research showed that the share of for-sale listings that mentioned open-concept layouts more than doubled since 2015. The thinking behind that stat? Open-concept floor plans, which feature combined spaces, foster a greater sense of togetherness. All this time spent at home during the pandemic seems, however, to have morphed that mindset. It’s as if we’ve all had enough of each other. (This is where we’d insert the wink emoji.)

Now, Zillow notes open-concept-dwellers say they don't have enough quiet spaces in their homes, be it to work, reflect or “get away” from it all. In a recent survey by Zillow and The Harris Poll, 27 percent of respondents said they would specifically consider moving in order to have a home with more rooms, after having spent more time at home due to coronavirus orders.

 

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Tell Us Your Story

We’d love to hear your story. Why are you considering a move? And how can we help? Handled is a moving and home services concierge, dedicated to helping the world feel at home. Offering a curated moving experience, we tackle the tough stuff from booking to unboxing by securing and working with your crew on your behalf. 

We also offer helpful moving content, including indispensable moving timelines and checklists, as well as a bevy of expert packing tips and tricks. You’ll find them on our blog. Our goal? To simplify and streamline your move, leaving you to the business at hand — making your house (/gym/playground/school/office) a home, wherever you live.

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