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How the Rise of Remote Work is Shaping Home Buying Decisions

Someone thinking about buying a home, remote work

In the last 4 years, we’ve seen an undeniable shift in the workplace from the strict requirement to make it into the office on time every day to the more relaxed, hybrid and remote work conditions now offered by 66% of companies. As millions of people begin to embrace the flexibility of working from home, their priorities are shifting, and so is their idea of their “perfect home.” Here are five ways the shift to remote work is influencing home buying decisions, shaping everything from location preferences to design aesthetics.

  1. Emphasis on Space and Comfort: With the shift from corporate offices to home offices, the need for a dedicated office space at home has become essential. Remote workers are seeking homes that provide plenty of room for both work and leisure. This need has sparked a renewed interest in functional design, with features that enhance comfort, productivity, and well-being becoming a priority for buyers. With that in mind, smaller and older homes are getting less attention from the average homebuyer, which typically means less competition and more room for negotiation. If you are not looking for anything too spacious, you may have a better chance making a more affordable offer on a smaller home that is amassing less interest.

  2. Rural Revival: Remote work is eliminating the need for daily commuting, and the appeal of expensive and busy city living is diminishing for many, especially due to population density. Buyers are now looking for neighborhoods that offer more space a slower pace of life without sacrificing convenience. Suburban and rural areas are becoming more popular as space, affordability, and access to nature take precedence over urban living. This up and coming trend could potentially cause homes and neighborhoods immediately outside of the city to go up in price.

  3. Focus on Functionality and Flow: As this new remote work era is keeping many people in their homes longer, the layout and design aspects of a home are more important than ever. Buyers are paying closer attention to the flow of their homes, looking for properties that integrate living, working, and relaxation spaces seamlessly. Open floor plans, flexible layouts, and smart storage solutions are in high demand. We are seeing more cases where little things can influence whether or not someone will make an offer on a home, like how convenient or inconvenient the trip from the car to the kitchen with groceries is.

  4. Proximity to Nature: The freedom to choose where to live is a significant benefit of remote work, and many are leaning towards locations closer to nature. Access to parks, hiking trails, and green spaces has become a priority for many homebuyers. We are noticing an increase of buyers that are searching for homes that offer easy access to natural beauty, moving away from artificial green spaces in the city and closer to luscious natural greenery a bit further out. A big factor that is contributing to this shift is the growing number of aspiring home owners that happen to be pet parents.

  5. Rise of Master-Planned Communities: Master-planned communities are becoming more popular in response to changing demographics and lifestyle preferences. These well-designed neighborhoods offer a wide range of amenities and create a self-contained environment that fosters community and belonging and are typically located outside of the city. They can include a wide variety of different amenities depending on the community and location. Some amenities include swimming pools, fitness centers, community spaces, sporting courts, and more, keeping sought-after niceties within close proximity and reducing the need to go too far into the city for what you need. New communities coming up in the area like Cambridge Crossing and Arsenal Yards offer a variety of different shops and tasty restaurants as well as serene parks and green space. In September of 2023, a new community master plan, Dorchester Bay City, was approved, offering 21 buildings which would include a mix of office, research and development, residential, retail, restaurant, commercial, community, cultural and other uses, as well as the creation of an extensive new street system to accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, and motor vehicles, more than 11 acres of public realm improvements, and the creation of more than eight acres of new open space. As the line between work and leisure becomes increasingly blurred, master-planned communities are becoming ideal for those seeking a balanced lifestyle outside of the city.

The universal shift to remote work is noticeably reshaping home buying decisions and directly making changes in the real estate landscape. What began as a response to unprecedented global challenges has evolved into a profound reevaluation of what constitutes the ideal home.

Looking into the future, it's clear that the remote work revolution is far from over. With technology continuing to evolve and companies embracing flexible work arrangements, the way we live and work will only continue to evolve. And as it does, we'll continue to adapt, seeking out homes that not only meet our practical needs but also nurture our souls.

In the end, the shift to remote work isn't just about where we work—it's about how we live. And as we navigate this new world of home buying, we can expect a wave of new buyers in the market for homes in suburbs just outside and around the city, opening doors for new development and potentially more affordable housing.


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