Impact of remote work on residential real estate

Theresa Hus
6 min readJun 11, 2024

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The remote work revolution has turned the residential real estate market upside down, offering a refreshing shake-up from the traditional commute-centric life. As laptops and video calls became our new office norm, the once prized properties near urban office hubs lost some of their luster, making way for a new real estate darling: the home office.

Recent studies reveal that nearly 60% of companies now offer remote work options, with around 25% of full-time employees working exclusively from home. Many jobs can be done remotely, and there’s a growing trend towards this type of work. This shift has prompted a significant migration away from densely packed cities. For instance, a Zillow report found that urban home prices grew by a mere 2.7% in 2023, while suburban and rural areas saw increases of 7.3% and 5.6%, respectively.

This trend is more than just a passing phase. Homebuyers prioritize extra space for offices, zoom-ready backdrops, and high-speed internet, turning previously overlooked locales into real estate hot spots. In the past year alone, the demand for homes with an extra room or designated office space has surged by 32%.

The rise of remote work has redefined what we value in our living spaces, showing that home is not just where the heart is but where the Wi-Fi connects automatically.

How has remote work changed residential living?

The rise of remote and hybrid work has significantly reshaped homebuyers’ preferences. Once, the home was simply a place to rest after a long day at the office. Now, for many, it has become the office. This shift has influenced everything from home design to location choices, profoundly affecting our daily lives.

Home Design and Layout

Many have rethought their living spaces, and the need for an office space has become essential. Spare bedrooms, dining rooms, and even closets have been transformed into dedicated workspaces. For new home buyers, features like a home office or a versatile room that can double as a workspace have become highly desirable. The focus has shifted towards creating environments that support productivity while maintaining comfort.

Location Flexibility

Remote work has unleashed many employees from the necessity of living near their workplace. This newfound flexibility has prompted some to relocate from crowded urban centers to suburban or rural areas to get more space and a better quality of life for their money. The allure of living in a bigger home, closer to nature, or in a quieter community has driven significant migration patterns over the past few years.

Work-Life Balance

Balancing work and personal life has always been challenging, but remote work has brought this issue to the forefront. On the one hand, the flexibility to set one’s schedule can lead to a better balance, allowing people to spend more time with family and pursue personal interests. On the other hand, the blurring lines between work and home life can make it difficult to “switch off,” leading some to feel like they’re always on the clock. Finding this balance often involves setting clear boundaries within the home, such as having a specific area dedicated to work.

Technological Needs

Reliable high-speed internet and technological access have become critical in the remote work era. Many households have had to upgrade their internet connections and invest in better equipment to support multiple people simultaneously working and studying from home. This need has driven changes in how people choose their service providers and homes, with a strong internet connection becoming a top priority.

Social Dynamics and Community

Remote work has also changed social dynamics and how we interact with our communities. With fewer daily commutes and more time spent at home, people have more opportunities to engage with their neighbors and local community. This shift can strengthen community bonds as people are more present in their local environments. However, it can also lead to feelings of isolation for those who miss the social interactions of a traditional office setting.

Environmental Impact

There’s also an environmental angle to consider. With fewer people commuting daily, there’s been a noticeable reduction in traffic congestion and pollution in many cities. This change has highlighted the potential for remote work to contribute to more sustainable living practices and has encouraged further consideration of how our work habits impact the environment.

Real Estate Market Changes

The demand for different types of homes has impacted the real estate market. Studio apartments close to office buildings may no longer hold the same appeal, while suburban and rural homes with more space and potential for home offices have seen increased demand. This shift is reshaping real estate trends, influencing property values and the types of new developments being planned. If you’re starting your house-hunting in this real estate environment, it’s essential to find a real estate agent who will understand these new dynamics and ease the entire process.

Strategies for agents to capitalize on the rebirth of suburban living

As families and individuals seek the suburbs’ comfort, space, and community feel, agents can employ several key strategies to capitalize on this trend.

Highlight Lifestyle Benefits

Agents should emphasize the lifestyle advantages of suburban living. This includes more space for growing families, access to nature and recreational areas, and a quieter, more relaxed environment than urban centers. Highlighting amenities like good schools, parks, and local community events can attract buyers who value quality of life.

Leverage Virtual Tours and Digital Marketing

With many buyers starting their home search online, having a solid digital presence is crucial. High-quality photos, virtual tours, and detailed listings can make a property stand out. Social media and targeted online ads can reach potential buyers explicitly looking to move to the suburbs.

Focus on Home Offices and Flex Spaces

The rise of remote work has made home offices a top priority for many buyers. Agents should highlight homes with dedicated office spaces or flexible areas that can be converted into workspaces. This appeals to buyers who need a functional and comfortable place to work from home.

Showcase Community and Connectivity

Buyers moving to the suburbs often seek a sense of community. Agents can spotlight neighborhood features such as local clubs, sports teams, and social groups. Additionally, promoting good transportation links and commuting options can reassure buyers that they can still easily access urban amenities when needed.

Emphasize Energy Efficiency and Modern Conveniences

Modern suburban homes often come with energy-efficient features and smart home technology. Highlighting these aspects can attract eco-conscious buyers looking to save on utilities and reduce their carbon footprint. Features like solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and smart home systems are major selling points.

Educate Buyers on Market Trends

Providing insights into the current market trends can help buyers make informed decisions. Agents should stay informed about the latest suburban real estate market developments and share this knowledge with clients. This can build trust and establish the agent as a knowledgeable resource.

Conclusion

The remote work revolution has fundamentally transformed the residential real estate market. As working from home becomes the norm for many, the demand for urban properties has declined while suburban and rural homes have gained popularity. Homebuyers now prioritize extra space for home offices, better internet connections, and a higher quality of life away from crowded cities.

This shift has redefined our living spaces, influenced home design, and changed our work-life balance. While remote work offers greater flexibility and less environmental impact, it also brings challenges like maintaining boundaries between work and personal life.

This trend presents new opportunities for real estate agents. Agents can attract buyers seeking more space and comfort by highlighting the lifestyle benefits of suburban living, leveraging digital marketing, and showcasing home offices and energy-efficient features.

Overall, the rise of remote work has reshaped our homes and lifestyles, making it clear that home is where we find the perfect blend of work and life.

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Theresa Hus

Theresa has single-handedly created the entire Sales and Marketing Training Program at RealEstateAgent.com from scratch, and has closed approx 20m in sales.