Yelp, Zillow Analyze Digital Nomads

Marketers targeting ads locally have a new type of reference tool. Yelp and Zillow announced a partnership Wednesday naming the top U.S. metro areas for digital nomads, as the prospect of permanent work-from-home agreements between employer and employee as a result of lockdowns from COVID-19 in 2020 become more likely.

The listing highlights information on why people might choose a specific location to live, although they work in another city or state. National brands can get a sense of what consumers in each of the locations prefer, while nearby businesses have an opportunity to gain a loyal local. 

According to a CivicScience survey among office workers, 45% of respondents prefer a hybrid model, sometimes work from home and other times from an office. While 26% of respondents would rather work from home full-time, another 29% would prefer to be in the office every day.

For those who don’t know, May is National Moving Month.

To celebrate, Yelp and Zillow separately analyzed their data and created a “Digital Nomad Index” to rank the top U.S. metro areas most favorable to the lifestyle.

The report scored metro areas across various criteria, ranging from available, affordable and flexible rental housing to a mix of amenities such as outdoor adventure and city parks.

Jacksonville, Florida ranked No. 1 in the continental U.S., with rental rates at about $960 monthly.

Page views to Jacksonville rental listings rose 120% last year, perhaps based on its affordable housing, shared office spaces, golf lessons, brewery tours, and more.

Nearly 11 million U.S. workers currently describe themselves as digital nomads -- up 49% from 2019, according to independent talent provider MBO Partners’ 2020 State of Independence research study.

In 2020, the number of traditional workers working as digital nomads grew 96% from 3.2 million to 6.3 million, according to the study.

Austin, Texas ranked No. 2 in the continental U.S., with rental rates at about $1,323 monthly. Austin is home to cultural, musical, and artistic amenities. There are furniture rental services, coworking space environments, and more.

Boise, Idaho ranked No. 3 in the continental U.S., with rental rates around $1,495 monthly. The area offers access to scenic views and easy-to-access outdoor activities like skiing and hiking. The city ranks among the top 20 for the number of available rental units, providing a wide variety of options.

Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; San Jose, California; Fort Collins, Colorado; Asheville, North Carolina; Las Vegas; and Salt Lake City make up the top 10.

A recent Zillow survey found that 11% said they have already moved in the past year.

Yelp’s recent Economic Average report found the trend continued through the first quarter of 2021, with consumer interest and searches for real estate agents rose more than 90% from a year ago in every state.

Consumer interest and searches for junk-removal services more than doubled in every state as people prepared to move or declutter

Locations were scored on availability and relative affordability of rental units listed on Zillow that offer lease terms of less than one year, merged with Yelp data measuring consumer demand and the share of particularly curated business categories such as vacation rentals, furniture assembly, auto and RV repairs, nightlife, and outdoorsy activities, among others.

Yelp identified the places that were strongest in business categories associated with large relative growth during the pandemic, and Zillow page-view data was incorporated to suggest demand for a particular metro.


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