30 Jun Work Commute Becoming a Driving Influence in Home Buyers
As the U.S. economy improves, employees are returning to the workforce in droves. This is working wonders for the national housing market as Americans are once again able to afford homes and life is returning the the housing market once again. Another factor that is important to home owners is being largely affected by the growing workforce is traffic.
With an influx of workers, metropolitan areas keep on growing. In this recovering economy, companies are continually looking for skilled workers as well as other firms to conduct business with. This availability of resources has made the densely populated cities of the U.S. highly attractive, not only to corporations but also to workers.
This swell in population has complicated traffic times for workers and is becoming an increasingly important factor for home buyers looking to spend the least amount of time in the car as possible.
“Skilled workers move where they can find work, creating more traffic and driving up housing prices,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. “It creates a positive feedback loop; the more skilled workers employed in an area, the more others want to move there.”
REALTORS® Seek to Ease Commute Problems for Home Owners
The increased emphasis on commute times as a factor in home buyers’ decision-making process is one that the National Association of REALTORS® is not taking lightly as this could drastically alter the future of real estate development and interaction with home buyers.
So what does this mean for the future of real estate? A number of things, according to a panel of NAR economists and members.
Many economists are pointing to an increase of developments that are designed as walkable, urban communities. These communities are situated near amenities such as shopping, transit and entertainment, and virtually eliminate the need for a personal car. Recent studies have shown that young, single buyers are placing a higher importance on communities with similar urban amenities.
Anthony Downs, economist from The Brookings Institution, disagrees on the grounds that home buyers are shying away from the big cities in favor of affordability. “There are 250 million cars in the U.S. and the auto industry is booming. Also, housing prices are highest in the biggest, most walkable cities. Consumers won’t move to the city for the convenience of transit or walkability if they simply can’t afford to live there.”
This means that consumers who aren’t focused on eliminating commuting costs by walking or biking to work, will devote a substantial amount of time and energy in their home search to cut them.
“Seventy-three percent of recent home buyers said that commuting costs were and important factor when deciding whether or not to purchase a home,” said NAR economist Jessica Lautz. “Of the 73 percent who said that commuting costs were a homebuying factor, the median age was 38. Theses are the people who are driving to work every day and dropping their kids off at school,” said Lautz.