Major real estate players have a new challenge in their hands: exodus of citizens from big and expensive cities. Why live in expensive cities if your company permits remote work? Yes, one can live in Auburn (Alabama) and work remotely in San Francisco. And even in Nigeria, Andela now makes it possible that you can live in Owerri and be in its team, without the old requirement of relocating to Lagos. That move is huge. A one-bedroom apartment in Ikeja can get you a nice 3-bedroom one in a good location in Owerri. Post Covid-19, commerce will not be the same.
There is a policy opportunity here: With incentives to get companies to go WFH (work from home) in Lagos and our big cities, the government can magically solve our traffic paralysis! If that policy happens, people can move into second and third tier cities, reducing traffic congestion in big ones like Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. But for that to happen, incentives must be offered by governments at both federal and local levels.
Silicon Valley workers are rethinking their sky-high rents and considering moving now that major tech companies won’t reopen their office this year. Facebook and Google won’t bring back employees until 2021, while Twitter has given workers the option to work from home permanently. The looming exodus isn’t just happening in San Francisco — many people in crowded cities are eyeing moves to less densely populated areas amid the pandemic. A new Zillow-Harris Poll survey found 66% of people teleworking would consider moving if work-from-home flexibility continues.