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Remote Workers May Seek Retirement Housing Early

Fla. is a draw for retirees, but the pandemic and ability to work from home has led more people to shop for a second home before they’ve officially retired.

NEW YORK – As more work is done remotely, some Americans are deciding to make an early move to their retirement locale. Many employers are offering employees the option to work from home for the rest of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some have adopted remote work as a permanent option. Freed from the bounds of a commute, many older Americans are deciding to move now.

“The pandemic was unexpected, working from home was unexpected, but nonetheless many companies realized that workers can be just as productive working from home,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, in an interview with CNBC. “We may begin to see a boost in people buying retirement homes before their retirement.”

Demand is rising in vacation resort areas, Yun says, and retirees are increasingly targeting states with warmer weather, such as Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

A Transamerica retirement survey released in September found that 38% of people who entered retirement chose to move to a new home. When asked why, retirees cited proximity to family and friends, an affordable cost of living, and access to excellent health care and hospitals.

Housing affordability may be a chief motivator in deciding to move sooner, Yun says. Residents in pricey areas along the coasts may find larger homes at more affordable prices elsewhere.

Some workers may also be worried that home prices will continue to rise. NAR reported that existing-home prices surged 11.4% in August compared to a year ago and are now at a nationwide median of $310,600.

“It seems like demand will remain solid for the upcoming years because the Fed has clearly made its intentions known that we will have a low-interest-rate environment,” Yun told CNBC. Last week, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.90%, according to Freddie Mac.

Source: “With Remote Work Flexibility, Some People Opt to Relocate Ahead of Their Retirement,” CNBC (Sept. 21, 2020)

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