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Remote Work Creates Growth in ‘Untethered’ Movers

March 17, 2021

With more people settled into working from home, possibly permanently, they are feeling freer to move anywhere. Nearly one in three jobs in the U.S. are occupations that can be performed remotely permanently—and, in some areas of the country, that number is much higher, according to a new study from ApartmentList, which refers to this growing group of potential remote movers as the “untethered class.”

The untethered class comprises 8.7 million workers, about 5.6% of the American workforce. The San Francisco metro has the highest share of untethered workers at 13.5%, the study notes. Some of the jobs that are most prone to being remote-friendly are administrative assistants, accountants, and software developers, for example.

“The untethered class are highly educated and high-earning, and with a median age of 32, many are likely on the precipice of settling down,” the study notes. “The untethered class are also more likely than the general population to be living in a different state than where they were born, indicating a propensity to relocate.”

The untethered class also tends to be concentrated in some of the priciest housing markets in the country. They may start to search for greater housing affordability beyond these big cities as long-term remote work prospects grow. “While such a trend would be unlikely to lead to the demise of superstar cities, it has significant potential to reshape the markets that the untethered class moves to,” the study notes.

This chart shows where the “untethered class” is most prominent, according to ApartmentList.

A chart showing untethered movers

ApartmentList

“The full implications of the remote work evolution will take years to become fully evident,” the study notes. But “in the coming years, the geographic preferences of remote workers could have significant ramifications for housing markets across the country.”

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