What to Expect as More Leave City for Burbs
With IT companies encouraging or requiring telecommuting, the home now functions as an office, school, gym, dining and entertainment complex and oh, home. Urban dwellers, no longer tethered to a physical office in the city, are checking out real estate listings in suburbs and rural areas – with many purchasing a house or leasing an apartment far from the city and company offices.
It is unknown if that trend will continue once the pandemic restrictions lift, but there’s no denying that the real estate market is changing. What are the trade-offs for IT employees and employers in this shift out of the city?
The November 2020 Rent Report lists Vancouver as the third most expensive city across Canada to rent a one-bedroom apartment. And though the cost is lower than last year, the average price is a little over $1900 a month, and a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver rents on average at about $2700.
Rents and mortgages in suburbs and rural areas likely are lower and give you a larger home. However, with more people moving in, housing prices and rents will creep up and possibly price out the newcomers and long-time residents.
Keep in mind that savings from cheaper rent may be eaten up by higher property taxes, as do costs for maintaining a larger property. New homeowners also need to plan for necessary and unexpected expenses, such as replacing a water heater or cutting down a
dead tree. Some real estate experts suggest assuming at least $15000 in additional costs the first year of buying and moving into a house.
Without public transportation or walk-friendly neighbourhoods, a family may need more than one car to travel to schools, grocery stores, doctor appointments and other services, adding gas and car insurance costs. And savings from not going out to restaurants and
other only-in-city events could end up spent on life outside, such as a garden, pool or patio. And don’t forget the outdoor BBQ.
Also, smaller towns will not have the number and variety of services found in a city, and its infrastructure will differ. For example, there will be fewer doctors and health care services, and there’s a good chance that the walk-in clinic is closed on the weekends.
The shift away from all employees working under one roof in the city has pros and cons for IT employers.
Reducing office space to accommodate fewer on-site employees will lower costs associated with leases, in-office amenities, administrative and operational staff and property taxes.
On the other hand, productivity and creativity could diminish as people no longer have in-person meetings and breakroom chats with members on other teams. Employers must re-think how to build a culture reflecting a company’s values and ethos with dispersed employees communicating via videoconference. Team-building exercises, hiring and orientation of new staff, and performance reviews also must adapt to the virtual workplace.
Along with more housing options, more job opportunities are available for IT professionals living outside of urban centers or traditional tech hubs. With high-speed internet, an equipped home office, and online security, tech workers now can work for companies across the country or worldwide while IT employers have more incentives to seek out qualified talent wherever they live.
Since 2010, SIGnature Recruiting has operated with respect towards all of our candidates and clients, making us the preferred IT recruitment agency in the Greater Vancouver area. If you are seeking talent or an employer, let’s talk.
Written by: Josh Bourke