Contact Us

RTO Policies Are Driving Homeowners To Relocate: Redfin

Return-to-work policies are the reason 10% of U.S. potential home sellers are eyeing relocation, according to a survey commissioned by Redfin.


The report is based on a survey conducted by Qualtrics in May and June that focused on 616 people who said they were likely to sell and move within the next year.

"While returning to the office wasn’t the most common reason respondents listed for moving, the response rate is notable because back-to-office mandates are an emerging cause of relocation," Redfin concluded in its report

Redfin said RTO mandates may force some people to sell their homes at a loss in order to keep their jobs.

2023 has been a big year for employers calling workers back to the office. Notably, tech companies, which previously championed remote work, have been doubling down on in-office policies. 

Amazon implemented a hybrid schedule in February for employees near offices. Many refused to come in, but leadership put its foot down, with the CEO telling dissenters, "It's probably not going to work out for you at Amazon because we are going back to the office at least three days a week."

This month, Amazon's remote workers and those in cities with smaller officers were told they might have to relocate to the largest employment centers, such as Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Nashville and Virginia. 

Other tech companies that have reversed remote work policies include Meta, Lyft, Google, Snap, Zoom, Salesforce and Apple. 

Redfin itself implemented a two-day-a-week in-office policy in April for employees living within a 20-mile radius of its offices. 

Two million workers have been affected by RTO policies, and another million are expected to be within months. CBRE found that 65% of people surveyed had some type of in-office requirement. 

Still, office usage in 10 of the biggest markets remains stagnant at around 50% of pre-pandemic levels. Even after Labor Day, when attendance was expected to spike, the opposite happened, according to Kastle, which reported 47% of pre-pandemic in-office attendance for the week ending Sept. 6.

Some companies with mandates are consolidating space, such as AT&T, which signed a smaller lease at the same building it occupied pre-pandemic, as well as Snapchat and Toast.