Back to the Office? No Thanks, Say Recent Homebuyers

Man doing telework and a little girl playing around
•••

 La Bicicleta Vermella / Getty Images

Among recent homebuyers, most like the new work-from-home lifestyle—and perhaps their new houses—so much that almost a quarter of them would find a new job if their employers tried to make them go back to the office, according to a new poll.

Key Takeaways

  • 23% of recent homebuyers would find a new job if their employers said they had to go back to the office, according to a new poll. And 8% say they would have to sell their new house, perhaps reflecting the difficulty of commuting from a new home far away from the job.  
  • The poll underscores how much the pandemic has changed the working culture and how heavily the shift to work-from-home has influenced home purchases.

While 48% of respondents said they would negotiate a hybrid in-office/remote work schedule, and 30% said they would just go back to the office with no other changes, 23% said they would dump their employer altogether and find a new gig if they were required to go back to the office. The survey of 1,000 new U.S. homeowners was conducted by HarrisX for Realtor.com in late March and early April.

Meanwhile, 8% said they would sell their new houses, perhaps reflecting the difficulty of commuting from a new home far away from the job. The survey did not delve into the reasons homebuyers may have had for answering the way they did. 

The poll underscores the profound changes to working culture caused by the pandemic, and how heavily work-from-home trends are influencing home buying decisions. The move to remote work has helped fuel a boom in the housing market as new telecommuters seek space to spread out.

“People are really enjoying their new communities and larger homes, and aren’t willing to give them up anytime soon,” wrote George Ratiu, senior economist for Realtor.com, in a report on the poll. “There is a large cohort of young professionals with growing families who value homeownership and affordability, and welcome the benefits of a technologically-enhanced employment landscape.”

The preference for working from home seems well entrenched among the homebuyers polled, with 62% saying they favor working remotely.

Indeed, some economists are predicting that work-from-home trends are here to stay. After the pandemic ends, 20% of all workdays will be supplied from home, compared with just 5% before, predicted researchers who wrote a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in April.