Your commute to and from work is one of the many crucial factors that all buyers should consider when shopping for a new home. Some shoppers won’t be fazed by a lengthier drive into the office while others may opt for a new home closer to their employer to save time on the road.
Either way, people shopping for a home should always at least think through what their daily commute looks like and how it will change their schedule. Read the guide below to find out what you should consider as you evaluate work commutes for a new home.
What is a Work Commute and Why Does it Matter?
A work commute is a person’s regular travel to and from their place of employment. In many American cities, getting to work requires either driving a personal vehicle, using a taxi or rideshare services like Lyft or Uber, or relying on public transit, such as bus lines.
However, in some larger metropolitan areas, including New York City, Washington D.C., and Chicago, commuters can use publicly funded subway systems to get between where they live and where they work.
Yet no matter how you get to work, it’s the travel that defines a commute.
Commuting time is incredibly important to your daily schedule and can even affect your quality of life. For example, a study conducted by the University of the West of England found that “an additional 20 minutes of commuting per day has the same negative effect on job satisfaction as receiving a 19% pay cut.”
How Work Commuting is Changing for Employees and Employers
How Americans commute is changing—a fact that impacts where people decide to live and why. A study published by Gallup found that before the COVID-19 pandemic, 60% of surveyed employees worked fully onsite while only 8% worked entirely remotely and 32% worked a hybrid schedule.
Fast forward to 2022 and the numbers look drastically different. Now, only 19% of employees work fully onsite, 39% work entirely remotely, and 42% work a hybrid schedule.
In short, this means more accommodating work schedules offer homebuyers more flexibility when it comes to finding the right home in the right community despite its proximity to a homeowner’s workplace.
But not every job can be done remotely.
People who work in hospitals, on military bases, and in plenty of other professions are required to be available in person, which means that commutes still matter. However, with fewer people on the road, people who do have to commute may find roads to be less congested than before the pandemic.
Pros and Cons: Shorter vs. Longer Work Commutes
So, what are the pros and cons of shorter vs. longer work commutes?
People with shorter work commutes tend to have more free time before and after work. Less time in the car, in traffic, or on a crowded subway translates into more time spent pursuing hobbies, taking care of your home, bonding with children and family, and more.
This added time can improve work-life balance, which is a significant factor for employee satisfaction. For workers who drive cars to and from work, a shorter commute also means you use less gasoline each way—which, depending on where you live, could be major cost savings.
People with longer commutes may find their trips to be more stressful than those with shorter commutes, as global staffing firm Robert Half reported that half of all professionals said traveling to and from work is stressful.
Yet there are positives to longer commutes. Some large cities, including Houston, have robust park-and-ride shuttle programs that offer direct, nonstop service to major employment centers. People can park at a nearby shuttle lot, hop aboard, and ride into town without having to fight traffic both ways (and can even get work down thanks to onboard Wi-Fi).
What to Consider About Work Commutes When Shopping for a New Home
In major metropolitan areas, every shopper should evaluate the following commuting factors when shopping for a new home:
Highway access is everything in a big city that’s dependent on car travel. Believe it or not, living a mile or two away from a highway onramp could tack an extra 10 to 20 minutes onto your commute.
In other cases, drivers have to consider whether or not their commute includes a toll road and factor in the associated costs. (To learn more about toll roads in Texas, refer to this resource.)
When constructing new communities, Bella Vista Homes selects areas that offer easy access to major commuter highways for this very reason. This added convenience means homeowners can hop on and off the highway without having to worry about traffic jams and construction delays.
Another key consideration when it comes to commuting is traffic flow.
In Houston, millions of people who live in the Greater Houston area travel into the city for work. As a result, traffic going into Houston in the morning and leaving Houston in the evening is much heavier than the opposite, because there are more people heading in those directions at those times of day!
Along the Way
Finally, it’s always good to know what’s on the way when commuting. For families, living near schools is a major convenience, especially if they’re responsible for drop-off and pickup.
Likewise, many other homebuyers look for easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, workout facilities, and more.
What to Expect When Commuting in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio
Legend Homes serves customers in a variety of major metropolitan areas, including Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio, as well as in a multitude of communities near these regions.
Each region is uniquely designed with its residents in mind and every region is traversable by car. With that said, commutes in each of these cities look different from one to the next:
Commuting in Houston
The typical one-way commute in Houston takes 27 minutes, which is slightly above the U.S. average of 26.4 minutes.
In addition to travel by personal vehicle, there are several other methods of transportation available to commuters in Houston. Downtown Houston alone is a major hub for METRO Local Bus, Park & Ride, and Light Rail commuters, serving more than 105,000 people every day.
Commuting in Dallas-Fort Worth
The typical one-way commute in Dallas takes 26.8 minutes while the typical one-way commute in Fort Worth is 27 minutes, both of which are slightly longer than the U.S. average of 26.4 minutes.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) transports approximately 200,000 people each day across a 700-square-mile radius. Passengers can ride by DART Bus, the DART Rail system, the Dallas Streetcar, the Trinity Railway Express (TRE), and more. For more information, check out the DART website.
In Fort Worth, the Trinity Metro handles public transportation. For daily commuters, services include the bus line, the TEXRail train, and a local ridesharing service called ZIPZONE.
Commuting in San Antonio
The typical one-way commute in San Antonio is 24.1 minutes, which is slightly faster than the U.S. average.
San Antonio’s public transit system includes a comprehensive bus line, an on-demand ridesharing service, carpooling options by van, and more. Learn more about VIA Metropolitan Transit here.