How Long Are Homeowners and Renters Willing to Commute to Work?

February 13, 2020
Traffic on commute to work
By edan

You would be hard pressed to find a homeowner that would willingly choose to commit to a long commute if they could help it. In fact, it is increasingly popular for workers, especially ones from the younger generations, to skip the commute altogether and work from home. But a majority of Americans still start their daily grind with a 20-to-30 minute car ride, full of bumps and heart-rate-raising close callswhich are always the other car’s fault, right? But just how far are homeowners and renters willing to live from their workplace? Zillow crunched the numbers and found answers to one of the top decisions people make when choosing the next place to live.  

People spend an overwhelming share of their lives at home or at work, and decisions about one are closely tied to the other.

The nation’s renters, home buyers and home sellers overwhelmingly agree on one thing: They all want no more than a half-hour commute each way, according to the 2019 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report. And many choose to find or create a home that enables them to avoid the twice-a-day slog altogether by working from home — at least some of the time.

Half-Hour Power

In general, buyers across various age groups and locations said their actual commute time was 20 minutes, and this was the same across sellers, renters and homeowners. Similarly, renters, buyers, and sellers alike all said the longest (one-way) commute they’d be willing to accept when considering a new home or job was 30 minutes.

The daily commute weighs heavily on homebuyers[1] decisions – almost two-thirds (62%) of employed buyers said that their commute to work or school was very or extremely important in their decision of which home to buy. A similar share of renters (57%)  said the same when deciding where to sign a lease.

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