As Americans increasingly take to working from home, it could start a new trend that sees people move away from pricey areas close to the office, to less expensive areas, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Several big technology firms, including Facebook, Square and Twitter, have already said that some employees will be allowed to work from home on a full-time basis. Those companies say they expect around half of their employees to work remotely within the next five to ten years. Meanwhile, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerber has said that around 75% of his employees have already expressed an interest in moving elsewhere if they’re allowed to work remotely all of the time.
Others have followed suit. Nationwide, the insurance firm based in Columbus, Ohio, says it is allowing several of its employees to work from home permanently, while others will be allowed to work on a “hybrid model” where they sometimes work at smaller offices that will remain open.
That should make it easier for workers to move away from expensive, coastal cities, to areas where homes are far cheaper, experts say.
In turn that could boost buying activity among younger generations, who have been purchasing homes at a much lower rate than older generations. For example, less than 37% of people aged under 35 owned a home last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That’s because many have been priced out, especially in more expensive areas such as the San Francisco Bay area where many tech firms are located.
Experts say that many of those younger people are ready to become homeowners in a more affordable market. At Facebook the average age of its employees is just 29 years, and their median pay is $240,000.
“Now could be the time for younger workers to start putting the matchmaking skills of online real estate platforms to the test,” The Wall Street Journal reported.