Future. Work-from-anywhere arrangements are creating a new boomtown era, where well-off white-collar workers are making their homestead in the reaches of the American midwest. In order to help cushion these new popular destinations from “rural gentrification,” a moratorium on short-term rentals and an uptick in home development may be needed.
According to Insider, remote work is spurring migration to small cities and quiet towns all over America, turning them into what the Economic Innovation Group calls “Zoomtowns.”
- The migration has mostly affected “the doorsteps of scenic public lands in the Intermountain West,” such as Bozeman, Montana, and Ketchum, Idaho.
- Other than looking for beauty in the open spaces, remote workers are choosing these locations because of housing-price surges in cities and suburbs. Here, they get more bang for their buck.
- While the influx of remote workers brings money and innovation to these areas, it’s also accelerating “inequality and rural displacement.”
If you don’t build it, they’ll still come
Unfortunately, most of these Zoomtowns don’t have enough homes to keep up with demand, which is raising prices and pushing out locals who may not make the same amount of money as a tech worker coming from the coast. In Bozeman, a preschool teacher earns an average of $31,600 annually, while the median home price has surged to $905,000.
Adam Ozimek, the chief economist for the Economic Innovation Group says that to help ease the burden of change happening in these Zoomtown communities, a lot more houses (and infrastructure in general) need to be built, with a special focus on affordable housing that’s actually affordable for locals.