Is Remote Work The Solution To High Home Prices In Hot Cities?

Hotter housing markets have fewer babies. Intuitively obvious — gotta make that money first — but now Zillow’s economics team offers statistical proof:

A recent decline in fertility was sharpest in counties where home values rose the most, and the change was smaller—and sometimes even up —where home value growth was weaker.

An extra 10 percentage-point rise in home values was associated with an extra 1.5 percentage-point drop in birth rates for 25- to 29-year-old women.

Even after accounting for the effect of home price increases, the West and Northeast still had bigger declines in fertility than the South and Midwest.

Between 2010 and 2013, the average age of a first-time home buyer was 32.5, and as homes grew more expensive, that average age rose to 35.2 by 2017. Meanwhile, the average age of mothers at birth rose from 27.7 in 2010 to 28.7 in 2016.

A related trend also happening, which is people moving to cheaper cities when having kids.

In 26 of largest 35 metros, majority of women ages 15-50 w newborns who moved in past year were moving from a more expensive place to a cheaper place. They’re also having larger families.

Hopefully technology continues helping jobs get more portable, this trend (of larger families in cheaper housing markets) can age well. Because let’s be real, having a larger family in a cheaper market works until kids get older and running a family gets more expensive. To make this work, I think jobs being more portable (remote work) is more reliable/realistic than companies moving HQs en masse.

Below is a Zillow series on this topic.

Birth Rates Dropped Most In Counties Where Home Values Grew Most

Birth Rates And Home Values: A Closer Look

Americans Move To Cheaper Areas When Having Children