Douglas, Broomfield, and Boulder counties are top spots for remote workers across the nation to call home. (Photo: Unsplash).
Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Douglas, Broomfield and Boulder counties are top spots for remote workers across the nation to call home, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The study scores 3,142 U.S. counties to identify the best places to work remotely based on internet connectivity, percentage of workers in office-related jobs, home affordability, urbanization and county population growth.

Douglas County ranked No. 2 nationwide with its 842 square miles of striking natural beauty located 20 miles south of Denver and 20 miles north of Colorado Springs. Metros in Douglas County include Castle Pines, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Larkspur, Parker and Roxborough. In 2018, 11.7% of Douglas County workers worked from home, 95.5% had broadband, and 21.4% of homeowners spent more than 30% of their income on housing.

On the north side of Denver lies No. 9-ranked Broomfield County. Located equidistant between Denver and Boulder, Broomfield County offers beautiful Front Range mountain vistas and a thriving corporate and residential community. In 2018, 9.9% of Broomfield County workers worked from home and 23.6% of homeowners spent more than 30% of income on housing.

Boulder County claimed the No. 29 best place to work from home. With more than 300,000 residents, Boulder County includes some of the most diverse and stunning landscapes and sustainable development along the Northern Front Range of Colorado. Towns and cities include Boulder, Erie, Jamestown, Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, Lyons, Nederland, Superior and Ward. In 2018, 11.5% of Boulder County workers worked from home, 89.6% of households had broadband, 90.4% of households had a computer, and 26% of homeowners spent over 30% of income on housing.

Forsyth County, Ga., topped the new NAR study on the best places to work from home. Texas leads all states with seven counties among the top 30 for remote work, followed by Virginia with four, and Colorado and Georgia with three each.

Due to COVID-19, more than half of employed Americans worked from home since March 2020. This newly found remote work experience has dominated our lives over recent months and given many Americans a new view of work that may well change where we choose to live.

“The coronavirus pandemic greatly accelerated the number of workers who are able to work from home,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “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.”

Where people choose to live has long been tied to where they work, which used to translate into a home that provided a work commute no longer than 30 minutes. But even before the pandemic, smaller metro areas were experiencing rising popularity among millennials and older members of Generation Z. Increasingly, these groups were moving to smaller metro areas for lower housing costs and less dense living.

Now, the remote work trend could have a big influence on future home buying decisions, reports NAR.

“With some organizations expanding remote work options and as more people show an ability to remain productive from home, we may see buyers see larger properties that offer space for a potential home office and other features that have become more valuable as a result of this pandemic,” says Vince Malta, NAR’s president. “The growing trend and historically low mortgage rates are spurring potential home buyers to consider a broader range of options and rethink what’s important to them in the long term.”

NAR identified the following top 10 counties for working from home:

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in residential and commercial real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at tomkalinski33@gmail.com, call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.