There's a reason professionals have long flocked to cities like Manhattan, Chicago, and San Francisco: Major cities offer more job opportunities and higher pay to boot. Plus, these cities offer a host of amenities, like fine dining, nightlife, and abundant public transportation -- benefits smaller cities can't match. But some smaller cities are making a huge effort to give themselves an edge over their major city counterparts by offering up to $10,000 for remote workers to relocate.
Geography is no longer a barrier to working
Before the coronavirus pandemic, remote work was considered more of a privilege than a necessity. But in the wake of the outbreak, remote work has become the norm, and for a lot of people, it will stay that way post-pandemic. That gives workers an opportunity to pack up and trade in big-city life for life in a smaller city, saving money on housing costs in the process.
To capitalize on this trend, some cities are offering financial incentives to attract remote workers. The logic is that growing their population will stimulate the local economy, create jobs, and lend to positive changes, like better schools and infrastructure.
Here are some examples of these incentives:
- Tulsa, Oklahoma, is offering up to $10,000 for up to 250 qualified remote workers to relocate there. In addition to that cash, those workers would receive a one-year membership at a co-working space.
- Savannah, Georgia, is offering up to $2,000 to qualified remote technology workers who relocate.
- Topeka, Kansas, is offering up to $10,000 to qualified remote workers who purchase a home there, or up to $5,000 for those who relocate and rent.
Of course, some big city residents will seek to stay put no matter what and patiently wait out the pandemic. But for those less attached to their immediate surroundings, the benefit of relocating is clear. It currently makes little sense to pay a premium for a smaller apartment near an office building no one is allowed to enter. And while big cities may have more nightlife to offer, right now, it's all largely closed or restricted.
As such, it's a great time to relocate to a smaller city, and it's an equally good time for real estate investors to keep incentive-paying cities on their radar. Buying an income property in a city like Topeka, for example, could really pay off if workers are being given up to $5,000 in cash to move there.
An interesting shift
Traditionally, cities have put out incentives specifically designed to attract businesses. But now, they're clearly switching gears and are instead throwing money directly at individuals. And they're doing it at the perfect time.
Right now, many city dwellers are tired of their surroundings and eager for change. Incentivizing them to move during the pandemic means that by the time they settle into their new digs and get used to their new cities, they're less likely to miss their former cities -- and they'll perhaps be so settled that by the time the pandemic ends, they won't be motivated to move back.
The Millionacres bottom line
Either way, real estate investors have a solid opportunity to capitalize on a growing trend: the abandonment of large cities. While cities like Manhattan certainly have the potential to recover, income property investors may have a lot more near-term success in smaller cities -- especially ones willing to throw piles of money at people to get them on board.