Again, the government response to the pandemic will reverberate for decades.
Small and midsize rural communities saw home prices surge during the first two years of the pandemic as workers with the newfound ability to do their jobs from anywhere relocated outside of city centers for more space and easy access to outdoor activities.
But that city-to-country migration has shown signs of reversing over the past year. Home buyers have been shopping for places closer to large metro areas, with cities like Washington and Los Angeles seeing population gains again in 2022. The shift comes as a growing number of employers are requiring workers to come back into the office — for the first time since the start of the pandemic, more than half of workers in major metro areas went into the office at least once from Jan. 18 to 25, according to data from the building security firm Kastle Systems.
All that should mean some relief for the housing markets in popular rural communities where home prices ballooned over the past two years from a burst of out-of-town buyers, pricing local workers out of the market. But residents and officials in the affected communities say that while the ranks of remote workers have ebbed, they have seen no relief from the massive housing shortages they spurred.