As wireless technology changes how and where people do their jobs, giving many the freedom to work remotely at least part of the time, so too is it changing their thinking about real estate.
Remote workers still represent a minority of the work force. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of last year about 24 percent of employed persons worked at least part of the time at home; among those with advanced degrees, it was 42 percent. In a survey last year of 23,000 new home shoppers, John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a firm with offices across the country, found that roughly 30 percent worked at home between one and four days a week; 13 percent worked at home full time.
Nevertheless, as the numbers have grown, some in the real estate industry are wondering about the long-term impact, said Zach Aarons, a co-founder of MetaProp, a New York City venture capital firm focused on real estate technology. Some investors in New York real estate see a potential threat if remote workers start to exit the city for less expensive locations, he said. The looming question is: “Do people live in the city because they like the community, or just because it’s convenient to their job?”