If more workers are called back to the office, would the housing inventory improve? Still, top reasons remain family, more space and/or a lower cost of living.
SEATTLE – Return-to-work policies are starting to have a measurable impact on sellers’ reasons for listing their home, with a recent study finding it a top reason for one in every 10 (10.1%) listings.
While returning to the office wasn’t the most common reason respondents listed for moving, the response rate is notable because back-to-office mandates are an emerging cause of relocation, according to a study conducted by Qualtrics and commissioned by Redfin covering May-June 2023.
In Boise, Idaho, Redfin Premier agent Shauna Pendleton has a pair of clients selling their home after only about a year because their Seattle-based employer is requiring them to return to the office. They will likely have to sell at a loss since they bought when home prices were near their peak.
“My sellers both work at the same company, which told them they have to be in the office three days a week or they’ll lose their jobs,” Pendleton says. “They have six months to make the move. They’ll probably have to take a $100,000 loss on their home; their new house in Seattle won’t be anything close to the size of their property in Boise; and their mortgage rate will be much higher.”
Other reasons homeowners are selling
With mortgage rates near the highest level in over two decades, there aren’t a ton of people selling their homes, meaning many who do decide to sell don’t have the luxury to wait. But the results of Redfin’s survey show that movers today are still considering factors including climate change and social issues:
- 19.3% of survey respondents with plans to sell within the next year want to relocate to live in a place better aligned with their views on social issues
- 19% cited lower taxes
- 17.9% noted concerns about safety/crime
- 10.6% plan to move because they’ve dealt with discrimination in their neighborhood
- 8.4% had concerns about the impact of climate change on their neighborhood
“Real estate is all about priorities and compromise,” says Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “While a lot of homeowners are staying put, refusing to give up their rock-bottom mortgage rates, some are opting to trade their low rate for a safer neighborhood, lower taxes and/or neighbors with the same political views.”
The desire for more space is the most common factor driving people to relocate, which has been historically been in the top three:
- 33.8% cited “more space” as a reason for their move
- 22.6% said it was a desire to be closer to family
- 21.6% wanted a lower cost of living
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