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Remote work continues to shift U.S. housing landscape, Zillow finds

Remote work is a driving force behind the shifting residential real estate market, a study finds. (iStock)

Remote work is fueling suburban home values, which are rising faster than in urban areas, as laptop-working buyers prioritize affordability and larger floor plans over shorter commutes, Zillow research finds.

The top market during the first quarter of this year was Woodinville, a suburb of Seattle. The second most popular was Burke, Va., outside D.C., followed by Highlands Ranch, a suburb of Denver, according to the real estate platform’s top 10 housing markets of early 2022.

The rise in suburban home values is a reversal of previous norms and from the first 15 months of the pandemic, Zillow says. Its researchers compiled the list by analyzing page-view traffic, home-value growth and for-sale inventory of more than 1,000 cities.

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Demand for larger homes and the suburbs began early in the pandemic and then accelerated in the summer of 2021, most likely as employers began to make decisions about their return-to-office policies, according to Nicole Bachaud, an economist with Zillow.

The remaining seven markets are Westchase outside Tampa; Edmonds outside Seattle; Yorba Linda, a suburb of Los Angeles; Johns Creek, a suburb of Atlanta; Tustin, a suburb of Los Angeles; Ballwin outside St. Louis; and Golden, a suburb of Denver.

Most of the suburbs that made Zillow’s list have more expensive homes than their nearest major cities, and each suburb is about 30 minutes from the nearest city center. Eight of the top 10 have home values higher than in their nearby principal city, and in seven of those markets, the typical home value is more than $150,000.

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The most popular markets near other major cities include Montclair, N.J., a suburb of New York; Elk Grove Village, a suburb of Chicago; Havertown, a suburb of Philadelphia; Billerica, a suburb of Boston; Coppell, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth; and Port Bolivar, a suburb of Houston.

Overall, about half the growth in home prices during the pandemic can be attributed to the increase of remote work options, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Zillow’s full report is at zillow.com/research/most-popular-markets-q1-2022-31059.

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