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More and more US citizens are leaving the big cities

“The crisis is forcing Americans to leave densely populated cities. This affects real estate prices and changes the strategies of companies”, writes the German publication Handelsblatt.

“More and more Americans are leaving megacities to settle in smaller cities. Most often, the reason is a higher quality of life and lower real estate prices. The crisis strengthens this trend in recent years because now the opportunity to work from home has increased dramatically. So, new York since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March has already left 420 thousand residents, who are now waiting for the end of the pandemic in the Hamptons, Hudson Valley, or Maine. It is unclear how many of them will return, “ the newspaper notes.

“Americans have been leaving megacities for the past 4-5 years, “ observes demographer William Frey, a senior research fellow at the Brookings think tank. “They don't necessarily go to rural regions, rather to smaller cities or suburbs,” he explains.

“At the beginning of the decade, for the first time, there was an outflow of population from the suburbs to megacities, because mostly Millennials left for cities in search of work. In recent years, this trend has reversed again, ” Frey says.

Companies like Volkswagen have long realized that their markets are not just in New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Billionaire and AOL co-founder Steve Case has been investing in companies located in Colorado, New Mexico, or Texas for several years.

“Cities and States compete in tempting offers to attract citizens with good education and jobs: Vermont offers the Remote Worker Grant Program to pay $10,000 over two years to people who can take their jobs with them if they move to a state on the border with Canada. In Kansas, the Choose Topeka program offers payments of up to 15 thousand dollars to people who are ready to move with remote work. Some cities, such as Lincoln in Kansas, attract people with free land plots.”

“The trend of moving from megacities is likely to grow. Among new Yorkers, the question of who and where could move is one of the main topics of conversation today, “ the publication notes.

“In addition, all the things that make New York attractive — museums, Broadway shows, and restaurants-are mostly closed. Why pay thousands of dollars a month to rent a small apartment?”

“Working from home also makes many people change their views: on the one hand, parents with young children in cramped city apartments are not as productive as they might be if they had their own office. On the other hand, the tendency to work from home will allow many families in the future to live away from the city and travel there only from time to time.”

“This also applies to cities like San Francisco. As more and more technology businesses allow employees to work from home, the outflow from expensive Silicon Valley and San Francisco has grown dramatically. Technology companies like Twitter and Square, as well as Facebook, offer their employees remote work on a permanent basis.”

“For the first time in many years, rents are falling rapidly in San Francisco, the most expensive city in America. In May, a one-bedroom apartment on average cost 9% less than a year ago, when rents were a record $3,360 a month.”

“Companies, in turn, use this trend to reduce staff costs. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that all employees leaving Silicon valley will have to expect a decline in revenue.”

“The social network intends to control from which locality employees will log in to the work laptop system, and change their wages accordingly. The Stitch Fix startup is purposefully looking for employees in less expensive cities, such as Pittsburgh and Cleveland.”

“Whether the flight from megacities is only a temporary phenomenon and sooner or later Bank employees, programmers and many others will return to New York and San Francisco, time will tell. “It depends on many factors, from the vaccine to immigration policies that cities like Los Angeles and New York have always benefited from,” says demographer Frey.”

“Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley said in April that even after the crisis “ “putting 7,000 people in one office building” will not be relevant” Handelsblatt reports.

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