As more and more local businesses cautiously reopen, it’s becoming apparent that some lifestyle changes that began as temporary adaptations may be around for a while. One of those could impact Costa Mesa real estate in ways that are only gradually becoming apparent—at least that’s one conclusion Costa Mesa readers of last week’s Wall Street Journal would have drawn.
WSJ’s “Management and Careers” editors reported on a phenomenon that’s been developing for a while. It’s one of the dislocations caused by COVID-19, which sent large numbers of employers scrambling for ways to operate safely for clients and workers. In many cases, the solution was to ask employees to work from their homes. It was a move that may not have been entirely altruistic: The Center for the National Interest estimates that employers save $10,000 per year for each employee who works from home.
To quote the Journal, “Three months into the pandemic, many workers find themselves in jobs that will let them work anywhere.” That’s the unanticipated phenomenon that prompted their headline—a question many employees have begun asking themselves: “When Workers Can Live Anywhere…Why Do I Live Here?” The answer could determine the residential choices many Americans will be making—one whose ultimate effect on Costa Mesa real estate is yet to be determined.
The Boston Globe offered one possibility in last week’s article, “Why a rise in telecommuting may boost vacation home sales.” Newly challenged is the automatic assumption that high-paying jobs require residing in or near big cities. As teleconferencing becomes an established modus operandi, one effect on real estate could be a movement to outlying areas—including vacation home localities. The Globe reports that more than one in four Boston employees now anticipate telecommuting—and perhaps a move to “rural or exurban communities.”
The Journal further found that many “newly remote workers” have begun chasing opportunities in states they hadn’t previously considered viable. “All told,” it reported, “at one point in April, Americans were relocating at twice the pace they did a year earlier.”
As the Fordham Observer wrote, no one “can pretend to predict how the coronavirus crisis will end and when its long-term effects will be fully realized.” But as for the ultimate upshot for Costa Mesa real estate, it seems likely that the rise of workplace mobility may favor livable communities like ours. Meantime, for all of your own Costa Mesa real estate plans, putting them into action starts with a call to my office!