As more of the U.S. population settles into working remotely, real estate migration patterns are shifting. So-called “Zoom Towns” – places that boast urban amenities, access to nature, and a lower cost of living than larger cities – are experiencing an influx of interest. Asheville is one such town, as many people from major metropolitan areas who can now work remotely consider the popular Western N.C. mountain destination as a place to call home.
A pandemic-prompted work shift
After the coronavirus pandemic sent many American workers into remote-only mode, one survey by MIT researchers estimated the share of virtual workers in the U.S. quadrupled to nearly 50% of the workforce. An Upwork Future Workforce Report, which polled 1,500 hiring managers, found that 56% of hiring managers felt the shift had “gone better than expected,” with more than 60% noting their employees will be working remotely moving forward.
Remote employment is also spurring homeowners to take a closer look at workspace possibilities in their potential home. Factors that best support remote working situations, such as Internet connectivity, home size and affordability, and urban amenities, place many Southern cities, including Asheville, in a desirable position.
Low interest rates
At the same time that migration patterns are accelerating interest in Asheville, low interest rates are driving buyers who have been waiting for just the right moment to make a move.
According to Freddie Mac, September logged the lowest rates ever, with an average 30-year fixed rate of 2.86%. Rates aren’t expected to rise much anytime soon either: A survey by the Mortgage Reports of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association found the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is likely to average 3.18% through 2020.
Asheville home sales
Recent home sales in Asheville lend validity to the “Zoom Town” migratory trend. During the third quarter, home sales in Asheville showed a strong uptick, with 457 home sales in the city and 952 home sales in Buncombe County. The county had the highest number of home sales per quarter by 16%, and the city had its second-highest quarterly home sales. This was a sharp departure from the second quarter, where there were fewer sales happening because of the initial COVID-related slowdown in both demand and supply.
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