How Will The Remote Working Trend Affect Real Estate?

man working from couch

As remote working powers through its tipping point, what evolving real estate trends do home buyers, and investors need to be aware of?

If it hasn’t already, remote working is on the fast path to becoming the most common way to work. The biggest impact for the real estate industry is still to come. So just how big is this trend? What does it mean for home buyers, builder, and investors? What do you need to know?

Remote Working Becomes The New Norm

Outsourcing is exploding after the global economic meltdown in 2006. Going from simply being a tool for farming call center labor offshore, to the first go-to option for virtually every type of organization – from government agencies to the most valuable technology companies, to banks and hospitals, new startups, and real estate businesses – remote working is more than just the norm. Most businesses just couldn’t survive without outsourcing today. This is true in terms of profitability and competitiveness as well as being able to attract and retain the best talent.

There may be some fields in which physical workers are still slowly being replaced – such as fast food and farming – but that’s changing too. In some fields and positions, the data shows around 80 percent of workers and executives work remotely. As a whole around 50 percent of all US workers are expected to be telecommuting in 2016. That percentage is expected to accelerate through 2020.

Numerous other factors are sure to propel this trend to becoming the most common way people work and organizations hire. Physical interaction still has its place, yet with pop up stores and Airbnb style services, and for retail and office space, it doesn’t require a full time local staff any more. Then consider the growth of online schooling and eLearning. New graduates and future graduates are just used to working in the virtual environment. Those enterprises and industries which have been testing and experimenting with outsourcing are finally reaping the rewards and are seeing the tangible positive data that will compel them to do more of it and shed old habits. New statistics also show that while some assume outsourced workers have mostly been cheap phone agents and virtual assistants, the reality is quite different. In fact; the majority of remote workers are now earning over 75k a year, have finished college, and are ‘white-collar’ workers.

So how does this all impact residential real estate?

Where People Live

Emerging technology is making remote working more effective and is a big part of tipping this trend, but so are evolving transportation trends. Low gas prices are enabling workers to live further from jobs, which is compounded by the number of jobs that only require workers to go in one or two days a week. Even when gas prices go up, we have alternative energy vehicles, and before long, driverless cars. If people don’t need to fork out an extra 25 percent of their income to live in smaller urban apartments, will they?

The American Dream

Surveys show that buyers still crave the ideal single family home with a yard and a view, not micro apartments in the concrete jungle. If home buyers can get that, enjoy a better lifestyle, not have to commute at all – thanks to remote working – and enjoy more money in the bank each month and more quality time, many may jump at that. There is a huge demand for housing today. We don’t have enough of it in many markets. But this could increase demand for more suburban property.

The Most Important Housing Features

When buying, building, rehabbing, flipping, and renting real estate, it is critical to know which features and spaces are most important. The switch to remote working is rocketing the importance of home offices. Working from the sofa, beach, or Starbucks just doesn’t cut it. Homes with real home offices are becoming more attractive. Some households may even require two of them.

Hiring and Worker Trends in Real Estate

Remote working has especially become prevalent in the real estate world. Many of those reading this won’t have considered any other way to hire, and won’t in the future. Yet some of the biggest and fastest growing organizations are still ramping up their virtual hiring. That means more competition for the best help, and the need to be competitive in virtual hiring. Just letting your team work from home isn’t a perk or reason to work for you – everyone does that now. How will you stand out as the top choice and maintain loyalty.