Remote Work, Larger Homes Driving Moves

A woman sits at her laptop at the living room coffee table, with her son hugging her from behind.

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With Americans spending more time at home during the pandemic, their motivation to move has increased, finds a survey from, a storage facility firm.

Thirty-seven percent of about 1,250 Americans recently surveyed said they moved into homes with more square footage between March 2020 and October 2021. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say their move was motivated by being able to work remotely, according to the survey.

“The clients I worked with who relocated had various reasons for their moves, but they all came back to one thing—the pandemic changed everyone’s lives,” Rogers Healy, owner and CEO of Rogers Healy & Associates Real Estate, told StorageUnits. “As people realized this was going to be the new normal, it became necessary to find permanent fixes. For many people, the home that once fulfilled their needs no longer worked for the new 24/7 stay-at-home lifestyle.”

Seventy-six percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 changed residences between March 2020 and October 2021; 69% of Americans between the ages of 35 to 54 did, the survey finds. For the younger age bracket, in particular, the attraction of a larger home was a top factor.

New-home sizes are getting bigger as builders see increasing homebuyer interest. As of the third quarter, the median single-family square floor area has increased to 2,337 square feet while the average (mean) square footage of new single-family homes rose to 2,541, according to the latest Census Bureau data, as reported by the National Association of Home Builders. The average size of new single-family homes is 6.2% bigger since the lows reached during the Great Recession.

Remote work has been a big driver of real estate moves, real estate professionals report. “With multiple people in the home working remotely and learning virtually, many families found a need for more private spaces,” Lisa Lewis, a real estate professional with Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®, told StorageUnits. “Open concept homes do not provide the separation of needed workspace. At the same time, people were longing for more elbow room.”

Households found they needed larger homes to accommodate office and classroom space, and remote workers sought more room at home to spread out.