But the narrative about people relocating to the suburbs may have become oversold.
One in three Americans plans to move in the next 12 to 18 months or is undecided about staying in their current residence, according to the latest results from Pitney Bowes’s weekly BOXpoll.
Gen Z adults, millennials and city residents are most likely to move, according to BOXpoll. Additionally, one-third of all movers say they want to relocate to densely populated locations.
“Work-from-home policies are becoming more prevalent and more permanent for many Americans. That means where they choose to live is less dependent on who they work for than ever before,” Gregg Zegras, EVP and president of Global E-commerce at Pitney Bowes, said in prepared remarks. “This change is inspiring many individuals to move, or to think about where they want to live in a new context.”
There is little doubt that the rise of work from home during the pandemic is driving more migration. The WFH experiment of the past year has given rise to a so-called “untethered class” of workers who hold remote positions and are unencumbered by homeownership or family obligations, a report from ApartmentList suggests.
These workers are highly-educated, high-earning, and “on the precipice of settling down” at a median age of 32. They rent their homes, live alone or with a spouse who is either not working or who is working in a remote-friendly occupation, and they have no school-age children. They are also more likely to live in a state other than where they were born. ApartmentList suggests this new untethered class consists of 8.7 million workers, or 5.6% of the total American workforce.
While Pitney Bowes says many people want to relocate to less populous areas, the narrative around the move to the suburbs may be oversold, according to a report from RCLCO.
The report shows that suburban apartments outperformed urban ones in 2020. While COVID-19 impacted suburban markets, they were not as affected as their urban counterparts. But the RCLCO report notes that suburban apartments experienced approximately 2% rent growth in 2020, compared to 3.5% the year before. And while suburban markets were more broadly stable than urban ones in the US last year, there’s a great deal of differentiation across cities. Metros like Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas and Charlotte are all high-migration markets where newcomers chose both urban and suburban locations, “belying the flight to the suburbs story,” the report states.
In another sign of the suburbs’ diminishing appeal, in a recent survey by Seyfarth, the law firm asked respondents if their companies will shift their investment sights to suburban markets and relocate all or part of their workforce to other states. A vast majority, 67%, said no, while 23% replied yes. In addition, only 2% said they were moving their workforces to other states.
Source: “Americans are Still on the Move“