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Business Tarrant County ranks low in work-from-home study by NAR

Tarrant County ranks low in work-from-home study by NAR

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North Texas ranks pretty high in the “Work from Home” category, according to a just-released study by the National Association of Realtors. But Tarrant County? Sounds like we’re walking around still going, “Can you  hear me now?”

The report measured several factors of increasing relevance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Two Colorado counties – Douglas and Broomfield – appear in the top 10 at second and ninth, respectively. Collin County ranks No. 4 and Dallas County, Iowa – not Texas – No. 10 in the study. Dallas County, the one in Texas, ranks lower than Tarrant County.

Williamson County and Denton  County rank 12 and 13 respectively, but Tarrant County? It’s a bit further down the list. Tarrant County showed to have just 4.5% of workers performing their labors at home and 80.5% of  homes have a laptop or desktop. The study says 84.3% of homes are equipped with broadband. Collin County, by contrast has 8.6% of workers using their home for work, and 91.3% of homes have a laptop or desktop. Collin Country has 91.4% of homes equipped with broadband.

Speaking at the Locavore Fort Worth virtual meeting on Aug. 27, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said the digital divide is a significant issue for the city.

“Post-COVID if I could address one thing, I’d have broadband all over the city and better access for our families that don’t have it right now,” she said.

Price said the city has been meeting on the subject. “ We’ve got a team working on 5G for the city, and Verizon, and AT&T, Spectrum several of them are at the table with us and they’re anxious to roll it out. It’s just very expensive and they’ve got a bottom line to look at too so it makes more sense to roll it out into the areas where they can sell more subscriptions. But because they’re so anxious to do it, we are now leveraging some of our other areas, worried that people won’t buy as much, but the city and the schools may have to help with that. It’s hard to put a dollar on it. There’s a lot of pieces on it and our philanthropic community is helping us with it.

“The schools are working on it. We’re going to take some of CARES dollars. We are going to hire a consultant who’s going to analyze the whole thing and tell us what’s the best way,” Price said.

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NAR’s 2020 “Work from Home” Counties report examines the current share of workers already working from home in more than 3,000 U.S. counties, along with several factors expected to support the remote work trend, including: internet connectivity, the percentage of workers in office-related jobs, home affordability, urbanization, and a county’s population growth.

Forsyth County, Georgia, ranks as the top “Work from Home” county in the United States, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors® 

NAR’s top 10 “Work from Home” counties are:

  • #1 – Forsyth County, Georgia
  • #2 – Douglas County, Colorado
  • #3 – Los Alamos County, New Mexico
  • #4 – Collin County, Texas
  • #5 – Loudon County, Virginia
  • #6 – Hamilton County, Indiana
  • #7 – Williamson County, Tennessee
  • #8 – Delaware County, Ohio
  • #9 – Broomfield County, Colorado
  • #10 – Dallas County, Iowa

“The coronavirus pandemic greatly accelerated the number of workers who are able to work from home,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Possibly a quarter of the labor force may be permitted to work from anywhere outside of the office even after a vaccine is discovered – compared to only 5% prior to the pandemic – and this will greatly change the landscape of where people buy homes.”

NAR assigned “Work from Home” scores for 3,142 U.S. counties. The top 30 counties, all of which have at least 5,000 households as of 2019, represent about 1% of all counties. Texas leads all states with seven counties among the top 30. Virginia is second with four, followed by Colorado and Georgia with three each, and Florida and North Carolina with two apiece. The following states have one county each within the top 30: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah.

“With some organizations expanding remote work options and as more people show an ability to remain productive from home, we may see buyers seek larger properties that offer space for a potential home office and other features that have become more valuable as a result of this pandemic,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, California. “The growing trend and historically-low mortgage rates are spurring potential homebuyers to consider a broader range of options and rethink what’s important to them in the long term.”

The growing number of people working remotely also impacts commercial real estate, particularly the office sector, with future office sizes and locations potentially changing as a result.

“The commercial real estate outlook appears uncertain as office spaces may get smaller and organizations consider moving from having a central business district headquarters to several suburban satellite offices,” Yun said. “However, in the retail sector, one can reasonably expect to see some growth in the number of smaller stores in the top 30 counties coming at the expense of similar establishments near downtown office buildings.”

View NAR’s 2020 “Work from Home” Counties report here: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/work-from-home-counties.

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