How the Work-from-Home Revolution is Shaping Urban Housing

By Michelle Clardie on 05/26/2023.
Reviewed by Josefin Gatsby
According to a WFH Research data-collection project, nearly 30% of all work was completed from home in January 2023.

Perhaps, with the technological advancements of the last several decades, the work-from-home revolution was an inevitability. But there’s no question that the COVID pandemic of 2020 rapidly increased the revolution’s timeline. The 30% of work done from home in January 2023 represents a six-fold increase in the 2019 work-from-home rate.

Naturally, this dramatic shift in the way so many Americans work is impacting the housing market. 

In this article, we will explore how the work-from-home revolution is shaping urban housing. Are remote workers really leaving cities in droves? How are new construction floorplans catering to the work-from-home crowd? And is there a way for real estate investors to capitalize on the changing needs of renters and homeowners?

Despite Urban Exodus Claims, Metro Areas are Still in High-Demand

Many have speculated that the ability to work from home has led remote workers to flee cities in search of more affordable homes with more space. While there is some evidence to support this theory, a look at the data shows that the “urban exodus” has been exaggerated in the media. 

Some urban markets have indeed seen a notable decline in population, particularly tech hubs like San Francisco, which saw a population decrease of 17.74% from 2020 to early 2023. But the decline in most urban markets has been negligible. And other urban areas, including Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Antonio, are still growing.

It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of people who leave large cities aren’t going far. Instead, they’re relocating to the suburbs. The suburbs offer larger floor plans at more affordable prices, while still being close to the amenities of the city. This also allows for flexible remote work, serving workers who are in-office some days and working remotely other days. So while proximity to the office isn’t as important as it once was, it’s still a consideration for many remote workers.

More Urban Floorplans Feature a Designated Office

As people work more hours from home, we’re seeing greater interest in floorplans with designated home office spaces. Not only is this a tax deduction for the resident, but it also provides a separation of work space and living space that many remote workers find critical for their mental well-being.

We’re now seeing lofts, dens, and additional bedrooms marketed as office spaces. And new developments are being designed to include designated office spaces.  

Live/Work Lofts Provide an All-in-One Solution for Professionals

Live/work lofts are an exciting option for today’s work-from-home professionals. Knowing that fully-remote workers often miss the personal connection opportunities provided by traditional office space, innovative real estate developers are creating residential structures that incorporate shared workspaces as well as spaces for socialization. 

Take the Gatsby Residence in Los Angeles, for example. This luxury live/work/play building combines private living spaces with shared work areas and resort-style amenities. With the work-from-home trend expected to continue, this type of high-end lifestyle accommodation may just be the future of urban real estate development.

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