NAR: Forsyth and Cobb counties among the best to work from home in the nation

by Timothy Inklebarger

Forsyth County has been deemed the best county in the entire nation in which to work from home, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

Working from home has skyrocketed across the country, jumping from 5.3% in 2018 to 63% by early April of this year, prompting NAR to take a closer look at which counties are best positioned to support the trend.

Based on a variety of data points — this includes housing affordability, population growth, the percentage of households with internet connectivity and the percentage of workers in office-related jobs, among others — NAR ranked all 3,142 U.S. counties.

“The coronavirus pandemic greatly accelerated the number of workers who are able to work from home,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release. “Possibly a quarter of the labor force may be permitted to work from anywhere outside of the office even after a vaccine is discovered — compared to only 5% prior to the pandemic – and this will greatly change the landscape of where people buy homes.”

The top 30 best performing counties had more than 5,000 households, according to the report.

While Forsyth County was the top performer with a work from home score of 1.9, it was but one of three counties in Georgia that made the top 30, along with Cherokee County at No. 14 and Cobb County at No. 18. Texas had the most counties in the top 30 at seven.

NAR noted in the report: “11.3% of the workforce already works from home and 99% of the population is served by three or more broadband internet service providers (ISPs). It’s a fast-growing area, and the population rose nearly 21% over the last five years.”

NAR’S analysis included the following stats for Forsyth County:

Workers who worked at home, 2018: 11.3%
Population with three or more broadband ISPs, 2019: 99.0%
Households with broadband, 2018: 92.6%
Households with desktop or laptop, 2018: 91.5%
Housing units in urban area, 2018: 89.5%
Civilian workers in office-intensive industries, 2018: 37.4%
Median home value, 2018: $321,000.00
Home price to income ratio, 2018: 3.2
Homeowners with mortgage spending over 30% of income on housing, 2018: 21.7%

NAR’s report on Cobb County noted that “8.1% work from home, 98% of the population is served by at least three broadband ISPs, 99.8% of the population live in an urban area, and 32% work in office-using industries.”

NAR CEO Vince Malta said in a press release that more remote work options could result in buyers seeking “larger properties that offer space for a potential home office and other features that have become more valuable as a result of this pandemic.”
“The growing trend and historically-low mortgage rates are spurring potential homebuyers to consider a broader range of options and rethink what’s important to them in the long term,” he added.