Housing prices soar in mountain towns thanks to tech transplants

Remote-working policy of major tech firms is having a ripple effect

Housing prices in the Rockies see a bump as tech workers move in from the coasts (iStock)
Housing prices in the Rockies see a bump as tech workers move in from the coasts (iStock)

Housing prices are rising fast in Western mountain communities where newly liberated tech workers are moving in.

Major tech firms, including Facebook, Twitter and Stripe, have implemented flexible work-from-home policies for their employees — some permanent — since the onset of the pandemic. And some of their employees who were previously tied to the Bay Area are flocking to towns around the Rockies, such as Boise, Idaho, and Park City, Utah, the Wall Street Journal reports.

That’s good for local businesses, but it’s creating tension because of the widening wealth gap as well as the rising housing prices. Remote-working tech workers with generous paychecks snatch up available homes sometimes with all-cash offers, according to the Journal.

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In Bozeman, Montana, the median home price has risen to $515,000 from about $432,000 in a year, according to the Bozeman-based Gallatin Association of Realtors.

Amy Alvarado, a Bozeman real estate agent with Engel & Völkers, told the Journal that about 95 percent of her clients since the pandemic are from the Bay Area, and many make all-cash offers.

The transplants from the Bay Area have been a boon for businesses like restaurants and bike stores, but they also drive up cost of living, said Casey Metzger, owner of the Top Shelf mobile bartending and consulting service in Park City, Utah.

“If we don’t pay attention to low-income housing, we’re going to be in trouble,” Metzger told the Journal.

[WSJ] — Akiko Matsuda