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For Home Buyers, Length of Commute Drops in Importance, New Data Shows

For Home Buyers, Length of Commute Drops in Importance, New Data Shows

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Home buyers during the pandemic have been willing to take on long commutes in exchange for lower prices, a new analysis shows.

In some of the nation’s most expensive metro areas, home prices rose faster in areas with longer morning commutes to business districts compared with neighborhoods with short commutes, according to an analysis from Zillow Group Inc. and HERE Technologies.

That is a reversal from prior years, when home prices in those metro areas accelerated faster in neighborhoods close to job centers.

Analysts say the change reflects that commute length has declined in importance for home buyers, as many workers expect to travel to their offices less often going forward. At the same time, rapidly rising prices have made affordability a bigger concern for many buyers.

“It’s been a big change,” said Ed Pinto, director of the AEI Housing Center at the American Enterprise Institute, who expects the shift in home-buyer demand to be long-lasting. “There’s a huge group of people who can work from home, and they’ll continue to work from home when things go back to…normal.”

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