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Fortune

Fortune|Momentive Poll: Work from anywhere’s impact on the housing market

Fortune|Momentive Poll: Work from anywhere’s impact on the housing market

Key findings:

  • One in five workers have moved since 2020, with remote workers relocating at a similar rate as in-person and hybrid workers.
  • Working from anywhere stays popular among workers: more than half of all workers say they would relocate to another area if they could work from anywhere.
  • The ability to work from anywhere changing home-buying preferences: property size, home features, and proximity to family are more important to remote workers than Americans overall.
  • Remote workers also have greater flexibility in choosing where they move to, opting to relocate for lower costs of living, health concerns, and more favorable weather. They are also more likely to relocate out of state and to the suburbs.


20% of workers relocated within the last year 

Relocation rates across different work arrangements are similar, with remote workers as likely to have moved within the past year (22%) as those working fully in person (20%) or a hybrid model (20%).

% of Workers Who Moved Since 2020

More than half of all workers would consider relocating if they could work from anywhere, despite the return to work

About one in three workers (32%) are working remotely at least part of time in July, nearly unchanged from June (34% in June).

  • 14% are fully remote (was 17% in June) 
  • 19% are working both in-person and remotely (was 18% in June)
Work ArrangementJune 2021July 2021
In-person65%67%
Mix of in-person and remote18%19%
Fully remote17%14%
NET remote34%32%

More than half of all workers (57%) would move to a new area if they could work from anywhere. Those who have hybrid work arrangements are especially eager, with 61% considering relocating if their work were unfettered from a physical workplace.

Work-from-anywhere policies are changing relocation preferences among remote workers

Remote workers are moving for different reasons, with the ability to work from anywhere allowing for greater flexibility in where they want to live. Among fully remote workers who relocated within the last year:

  • 24% say that the ability to work remotely was a primary reason for relocating
  • 35% relocated due to housing affordability, compared with 20% of fully in-person workers
  • 31% relocated to areas with lower cost of living, compared to 16% of in-person workers
  • 24% relocated due to concerns for their well-being and personal health, compared with 11% of in-person workers
  • 17% relocated to areas with different climate or weather, compared with only 10% of in-person workers

Reasons for Relocating by Remote vs. In-Person

Compared to those working in-person, remote workers also have different priorities when it comes to relocation, placing a greater emphasis on proximity to family (32% vs. 23%), property size (49% vs 42%) and home features (66% vs 50%). Proximity to work, unsurprisingly, is much less important for remote workers than for those working fully in person (30% vs 42%).

Important Factors for Relocation

Remote workers more likely to move out of state, and prefer the suburbs

More than one in five (22%) remote workers relocated within the last year, and are more likely to have moved from out of state than in-person workers (40% vs 30%).

Urban areas see a greater exodus of fully remote workers compared to those with hybrid or in-person work arrangements. 44% of remote workers who moved within the last year migrated from an urban area, compared to 38% of those with hybrid arrangements and 33% of in-person workers.

Full-time remote workers are slightly more likely than full-time in-person workers to consider relocating within the next twelve months (28% vs 24%), and more likely to consider moving out of state.

  • 47% of fully remote workers are thinking of relocating out of state, compared to 40% considering a different city in the same state, and 33% within the same city.
  • 44% of workers who work a hybrid work arrangement are considering moving to another state, followed by a city within the same state (39%). Only 22% would move within the same city.
  • 39% of full-time in-person workers would consider moving within the same city or to another city in-state, outnumbering those who are open to relocating to another state (32%).

The suburbs are a more popular destination for remote workers: about two in three full-time remote workers (66%) would consider relocating to the suburbs, followed by urban areas (53%). Desire for suburban living is lower among those working fully in-person (55%).

Younger Americans less happy with where they live, and are more mobile

Most Americans (84%) are content with where they live, although Gen Z and Millennials are less likely to be satisfied with their area. Roughly one in three of Gen Zers (32%) and Millennials (37%) say they are “very happy”, compared with 44% of Gen X and 53% of Boomers. 

These two age cohorts are also more likely to have moved within the last year (39% of Gen Z and 28% of Millennials), and are also more likely to consider moving within the next 12 months (44% and 30% respectively).

Among those who moved, housing affordability, distance to family, and cost of living are the leading reasons for relocation overall.

  • 25% of Millennials and Gen Z who relocated did so for housing affordability, and 21% for lower costs of living. 
  • Distance to family was the leading reason for among Gen X (23%) and Boomers (30%)

Within the last year, Americans more commonly relocated to other cities within their state (38%), but one in three (33%) moved out-of-state and a smaller percentage moved within the same city (29%). Gen Zers are especially likely to have moved from another state (42%), compared with Millennials (31%) and Boomers (27%).

Children and housing affordability main motivations for relocation among parents

Nearly a quarter (23%) of parents with children under 18 moved within the last year, with 33% citing a better environment for their child(ren) as the leading reason for relocation. Among these parents:

  • Neary 4 in 10 (39%) moved from an urban area, compared with 33% who moved from a rural area and 27% from the suburbs. 
  • 25% of those currently living in the suburbs, relocated from an urban area.

A similar percentage (26%) of parents with children under 18 are also considering moving within the next 12 months, preferring to move to another city within the same state (42%) over moving within the same city (37%) or out of state (30%). Similar to those who have recently moved, a better environment to raise their child(ren) and housing affordability drive their motivations for relocation (37% and 33% respectively).

When thinking of where to relocate to, property size and neighborhood features are more important to parents of children under 18, compared with the overall population. 

  • 61% say neighborhood features, such as schools and safety, are important when thinking of relocating, compared with 53% of Americans overall
  • 45% say property size is important, compared 40% of Americans overall
  • Housing affordability, while still top of mind, is less important for parents of children under 18 (63%) than for non-parents (71%)

Renters more likely to relocate 

Renters are less satisfied with their living situations than homeowners: only slightly more than one in three renters (36%) are very happy with where they live, compared with half (51%) of homeowners. 

Renters are four times more likely than homeowners to have moved since the beginning for 2020 (36% vs. 9%). Among those who moved within the last year, renters were three times as likely to have moved due to financial difficulties (15% vs. 5%).

Four in 10 renters are considering relocating to another area within the next twelve months, more than three times the rate of homeowners (40% vs 12%).

Read more about our polling methodology here.