Wednesday, March 17, 2021

New website helps remote workers find towns offering cash incentives for new residents

"Dozens of cities are offering up to $16,000 in cash incentives, homebuying allowances, tax credits and money toward local goods and services in hopes of enticing pandemic movers to relocate there., an online directory launched in December 2020, aims to connect remote workers with such offers around the country," Jennifer Liu reports for CNBC.

"City- and statewide workforce development groups have long incentivized new residents to move there, often by offering tax breaks and loan forgiveness when they buy a home. But with the pandemic spurring a wider acceptance of remote work, plus a greater affinity for physical space beyond dense urban areas, these programs are pushing recruitment into overdrive."

Many of those workers are looking to relocate to small towns, according to surveys and real estate data. The infusion of new workers could help local economies (though it could also trigger growing pains). 

The MakeMyMove website has several smaller communities seeking to attract new residents. That includes Newton, Iowa, a town of 15,254 east of Des Moines; local leaders are offering new residents $12,500 to move there. Harmony, Minnesota, pop. 1,020, is offering transplants $12,000. Some of the offers aren't for a specific dollar amount, but note that the local government offers homebuying grants, tax breaks, local co-working spaces, and money to spend at local small businesses, Liu reports.

"The site also has a 'Design Your Own' feature where remote workers can list their ideal location as well as relocation incentive package," Liu reports. "MakeMyMove cofounder Evan Hock says his team can then talk to local economic development programs to create new opportunities where there is demand."

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