The exodus: A rise in remote working could crater expensive housing markets

Employees are finding little reason to pay high rents to work in places like the Bay Area

New York Weekend Edition /
May.May 16, 2020 02:00 PM
Companies across the U.S. are warming up to the idea of remote working. Some employees who live in expensive regions like the San Francisco Bay Area, figure they might as well move someplace cheaper. (Credit: iStock)

Companies across the U.S. are warming up to the idea of remote working. Some employees who live in expensive regions like the San Francisco Bay Area, figure they might as well move someplace cheaper. (Credit: iStock)

Why pay an arm and a leg to live near your Silicon Valley office if you don’t need to anymore? That’s what some highly-paid tech workers are asking themselves.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced remote working on scores of companies and some have decided to embrace it. Some of their employees are taking it as an opportunity to escape the super high rents and home prices in the Bay Area, according to Bloomberg.

Dylan Hecklau, who works for a San Mateo-based company, said he’s planning to put a down payment on a home in Sacramento with money he set aside for a vacation. He pays $3,200 a month to rent in San Francisco.

“With nothing keeping me here, I can’t justify paying the rent prices,” he said.

A shift in policy could put downward pressure on rents in notoriously expensive markets like the Bay Area, New York, and Los Angeles.

Facebook and Google announced that the majority of employees won’t need to come into their offices for the rest of the year. Twitter is letting some employees permanently work from home if they want.

Leadership at San Francisco-based cloud communications company Twilio expects about 20 percent of employees to work remotely in the long-term.

Twilio exec Christy Lake said the company was mulling a relocation bonus for employees, but that it could pay less to employees who live in cheaper markets.

“It’s probably not great business practice to pay Bay Area comps in Michigan,” she said.

Industry pros might also find that remote working means more competition for jobs because it widens the pool of employees available to companies. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch


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