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As companies like USAA extend their work-from-home policies into the fall, San Antonio realtors are noticing prospective homeowners adjusting to the “new normal.”

As companies like USAA extend their work-from-home policies into the fall, San Antonio realtors are noticing prospective homeowners adjusting to the “new normal.”Photo: Sarah Tew/CNET

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As companies like USAA extend their work-from-home policies into the fall, San Antonio realtors are noticing prospective homeowners adjusting to the “new normal.”

As companies like USAA extend their work-from-home policies into the fall, San Antonio realtors are noticing prospective homeowners adjusting to the “new normal.”Photo: Sarah Tew/CNET

How work-from-home pandemic policies have changed the San Antonio real estate market

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When the coronavirus pandemic emptied office buildings, employees swapped commutes and coworkers for the comforts of home — and noisy children.

Now, as companies like USAA extend their work-from-home policies into the fall, San Antonio realtors are noticing prospective homeowners adjusting to the “new normal.”

Both employees and employers have recognized that people can be productive from home. That realization has untethered workers from offices they may not have to visit every weekday, according to Kim Bragman, the San Antonio Board of Realtors 2020 chairman.

“We’re starting to see more outlying areas where there may be larger lots getting more requests,” Bragman said. “The downtown still continues to be popular, but I think more folks are maybe open to the idea that they don’t necessarily need to be downtown.”

On ExpressNews.Com: The post-coronavirus pandemic home will have more walls, more flex rooms and dedicated office areas, plus tiny houses for mom and dad

Historic neighborhoods and the River Walk ensure that there will always be a demand for downtown, Bragman said, but the move toward telecommuting has made communities like La Vernia and Floresville more attractive.

Of course, cheaper land on the outskirts of the city means that buyers can get more backyard for their buck.

“People are realizing that, ‘I don’t have to commute. So why don’t I live out on a larger plot of land where I’ve got more elbow room?'” Bragman said.

Even though 40 percent of jobs could be performed remotely, only seven percent of American workers had the option to telecommute prior to the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center. That gap could shrink if such policies prove successful during the current crisis.

A recent Zillow survey found that 75 percent of Americans working from home because of the virus would continue doing so if given the option. Two-thirds said they would consider moving.

The real estate company suggested that larger homes could draw workers no longer worried about the commute into suburbs and exurbs.

Bragman noted one perk in particular has become more popular during the pandemic. The home office — once a luxury — has become a sanctuary for undisturbed Zoom calls.

“Offices have been popular for quite a while but now people are realizing ‘I really need a space that’s more dedicated — that’s got four walls — instead of a desk tucked away in the family room,'” Bragman said.

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