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The COVID-19 pandemic is propelling many remote workers to flee crowded cities in search of more bucolic settings. Some of these destinations were, in fact, once considered vacation getaways.
Planet Money defines “zoom towns” as housing markets that are booming as remote work takes off—adding another term to our growing pandemic lexicon.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers opted to live in urban centers close to—or within commuting distance—of their offices and looked forward to vacations. Now, they find themselves living and working in high-rent and sometimes high-rise apartments with only limited space, with vastly diminished opportunities to travel for work or leisure. Because of social distancing measures and closures (including restaurants, theaters, nightlife and cultural institutions), they are less able to take advantage of many of the perks that initially drew them to their once-vibrant communities.
Remote workers are craving more space, privacy and tranquility as well as convenient opportunities to spend time outdoors and get closer to nature. Although interest in zoom towns has been primarily fueled by millennials, the desire to move is also being felt acutely by families living in close quarters whose children are now learning remotely at home.
Finding a place to call home
Recent trends in the real estate market reflect this shift: Rental vacancies are surging and rental costs are declining in urban areas—as housing prices are increasing and inventory is becoming more scarce in suburbs and rural areas.
Online real estate market Zillow estimates that some two million renter households may now be in the market for home ownership because they are able to telecommute.
Based on media reports and/or out-of-town search traffic and home growth provided by Zillow, the seven towns below exemplify those that have been coined zoom towns:
Set on rolling hills, Lewisburg, Tennessee is an historic, small town with a population of less than 12,000 people. Located between the larger cities of Nashville and Huntsville, both about one hour away by car, it offers remote workers the best of both worlds (small town and larger cities). Housing is affordable and the wildlife-rich Duck River offers opportunities for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
For those unhappy with their current living situation and seeking a truly “domestic” getaway, a visit to a “zoom town” might help pique your fancy before you make the plunge.
A few caveats to assuage your wanderlust:
Although remote workers can now visit homes virtually, a recent Zillow survey found that a majority of buyers (64%) say they want to tour a home in person before purchasing it. “That said, not everyone feels comfortable traveling during the pandemic,” says a Zillow spokesperson.
Other Towns include Kingston, NY, Cape Cod, MA, Martha's Vineyard, MA, Aspen, CO, Butte, MT and The Hampton, NY - see full article here - https://www.forbes.com/sites/irenelevine/2020/09/15/zoom-towns-why-your-last-vacation-getaway-may-be-your-next-home/?sh=7552845c3ad3