It is no secret that remote work has, for many, become the new way of the workplace. According to Nicholas Bloom, an Economics Professor at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, 42 percent of the American workforce is now working from home full-time. He points out that “The stigma associated with working from home prior to COVID-19 has disappeared. And working remotely is now extremely common.”
For decades, Southwest Colorado has been a highly attractive place for relocation. With the surrounding natural beauty and smaller communities it has been a draw for adventure seekers as well as those who prefer a slower pace and closer knit communities. Now, as social distancing and quality of life are our minds, these aspects are helping to draw more people to the area.
In fact, the Durango Herald recently reported that the city of Durango is specifically attracting telecommuters for relocation. In an interview with Michael French, the executive director of the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance, he told reporters, “The alliance recognizes that a certain amount of urban flight is occurring, some of it from COVID-19, some of it from other factors, but we’re seeing a number of remote workers flee urban areas to smaller, rural areas, and we want to get ahead of the trend”. French recognizes that many of these workers are highly-paid professionals such as engineers, software developers, architects, scientific researchers and other professionals.
After applying, the city of Durango, La Plata Economic Development Alliance and the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs were collectively awarded a grant from Colorado’s Rural Economic Development Initiative. The money granted will have various purposes. One of which will be used to develop a recruitment plan that helps target remote workers who are most interested in moving to Southwest Colorado.
Ultimately, the new “working-from-home-economy” will bring more people to the southwest. A Redfin survey found that 67 percent of people would want to move if they could work remotely all of the time. In our area of Colorado, the housing inventory is absolutely being impacted as homes are quickly being bought due to relocations. With demand steadily increasing, we should expect to see real estate prices to also rise.