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Return-to-office policies are driving people to sell their homes - even at a loss

Children ride scooters past 'open house' flags displayed outside a single family home in Los Angeles, California.
Children ride scooters past 'open house' flags displayed outside a single family home in Los Angeles, California.Allison Dinner/Getty Images
  • Return-to-office policies are an emerging force in the housing market, according to a Redfin survey.

  • It found that about 10% of home sales are driven by employees who are forced to end remote work.

  • More and more companies have been requiring their employees to come into the office at least a few days per week.


Remote-work trends are starting to reverse, and that's forcing some people to sell their homes, according to a survey from Redfin.

It found that 10.1% of people who are likely to move in the next year are doing so because of a return-to-office policy.

During the pandemic, as remote work flourished, some employees left big cities and bought properties in mountain towns and other remote areas of the country. But more and more companies are beginning to require that their employees spend at least a few days of the week in the office.

And that's forcing some employees who fled big cities in favor of buying a home elsewhere to make a difficult decision.

"Return-to-office mandates are forcing some people to choose between selling their home at a loss or losing their job," Redfin said.

Redfin highlighted an anecdote from real estate agent Shauna Pendleton in Boise, Idaho, which was a popular destination for big city remote workers during the pandemic.

She has clients selling their home after purchasing it just a year ago near the housing market peak because they have to move back to Seattle for in-person work.

"My sellers both work at the same company, which told them they have to be in the office three days a week or they'll lose their jobs. They have six months to make the move. They'll probably have to take a $100,000 loss on their home," Pendleton said.

Companies that have asked their employees to return to the office for work, at least on a part time basis, include Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Meta, among others.

Making the decision even more difficult for some homeowners is the fact that mortgage rates have doubled over the past year to above 7%, which significantly limits affordability for prospective home buyers, especially in higher-priced cities.

While return-to-office policies are an emerging force in the housing market, Redfin's survey showed that the desire for more space was the top reason for moving at 33.8%.

Other top reasons were to be closer to family (22.6%), for a lower cost of living (21.6%), and to get a better deal on a home (20.5%).

Read the original article on Business Insider