We typically ignore all of the new, rushed rankings of geographies during the COVID-times, but the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just put out a well thought out argument for their top 30 counties for working from home, taking into account internet connectivity, the percentage of workers in office-related jobs, home affordability, urbanization, and a county’s population growth.
Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but the top 10 looks like a map of the old Big 12 football conference schedule back when it was the Southwest Conference, just saying…
The report analyzes the aforementioned factors that “support the remote work trend,” which we firmly believe will drive real estate purchases for years to come as employers begin implementing more permanent flex work options.
Texas leads all states with 7 counties among the top 30, but for the sake of fairness, here is the top 10, in which we painfully acknowledge Georgia as the top spot stealer:
- Forsyth County, Georgia
- Douglas County, Colorado
- Los Alamos County, New Mexico
- Collin County, Texas
- Loudoun County, Virginia
- Hamilton County, Indiana
- Williamson County, Tennessee
- Delaware County, Ohio
- Broomfield County, Colorado
- Dallas County, Iowa
“The coronavirus pandemic greatly accelerated the number of workers who are able to work from home,” notes NAR Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun. “Possibly a quarter of the labor force may be permitted to work from anywhere outside of the office even after a vaccine is discovered – compared to only 5% prior to the pandemic – and this will greatly change the landscape of where people buy homes.”
NAR President Vince Malta observes that location options are not the only changes for potential homebuyers, but that as remote work becomes more commonplace, “we may see buyers seek larger properties that offer space for a potential home office and other features that have become more valuable as a result of this pandemic.” Aha!
Malta adds, “The growing trend and historically-low mortgage rates are spurring potential homebuyers to consider a broader range of options and rethink what’s important to them in the long term.”
In a statement, NAR indicates, “The growing number of people working remotely also impacts commercial real estate, particularly the office sector, with future office sizes and locations potentially changing as a result.”
Dr. Yun states that the future of commercial real estate “appears uncertain” as companies reorganize “from having a central business district headquarters to several suburban satellite offices.”
The bright spot, however, is retail. “One can reasonably expect to see some growth in the number of smaller stores in the top 30 counties coming at the expense of similar establishments near downtown office buildings,” Dr. Yun concluded.
Below is a breakdown of their methodology: