Smart and remote working have been an opportunity for many to reorganize their lives, also from a housing point of view, and among the categories that have benefited most from this opportunity are those who work away from home; according to a survey commissioned by from mUp Research and Norstat, in the last year 20% of people away from home, i.e. 400,000 individuals, have taken advantage of smart working to change city.

75% of them chose to return to live in their place of origin, while 25% preferred to move to another city, different both from the one where they were born and from the one where the company they work for is based.

The regions

Looking at the phenomenon of “returning smart workers”, it is clear that this has taken on different characteristics depending on the geographical area. Some regions, especially in the South, have seen more workers return than those who left: this is the case in Sardinia (+40%), but also in Sicily (+27%) and Calabria (+21%).

On the other hand, the regions with more populous cities from a demographic and work-related point of view had a negative balance, i.e. the number of smart workers who left the region was higher than those who returned: for example Lombardy (-2%), Piedmont (-10%) and Lazio (-20%).

A trend that emerged from the survey is that of people moving away from large urban centers but not towards the regions of the South, but rather towards smaller municipalities located within the same region where the company for which the smart worker is employed is based; this phenomenon is particularly evident in Lombardy and Latium.

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Higher standard of living

One of the elements that has driven the out-of-towners to change city is economic. While it is true that the average salary of “returning smart workers” is 1,840 euro, for one out of three the monthly salary is less than 1,500 euro. Changing city while keeping the same job has allowed many people to improve their standard of living; 28.1% said that the main reason why they decided to stay working remotely is because, while receiving the same salary, they can afford things that before as an off-site worker could not.

Note, however, that the number one reason for choosing to work from another city (42.1%) is the desire to find a more human-scale pace of life, whatever that means.

Analysing intentions for the future, six out of ten returning smart workers said they had no intention of returning to their rented home and would continue to work remotely, either from their home city or the one they moved to after the lockdown.

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Growing mortgages in small towns and activations of internet lines

The emigration from large urban centers is also confirmed by analyzing the trend of mortgage applications and the activation of home internet lines.

The survey highlighted how, in the first half of 2021, applications for loans for properties located in municipalities with fewer than 250,000 inhabitants accounted for 77% of the total, up 7% on 2017; even looking at contracts for activation or change of operator of the home internet service shows how, between March 2020 and January 2021, there was a boom especially in some of the “return” regions; Sardinia (+15.9%), Calabria (+9.7%), Marche (+7.1%), Puglia (+4.8%).

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