TUCSON, Ariz. — COVID-19 has caused terrible trouble, but opened the window to opportunities too. Workers who can perform their high tech---and high paying---jobs remotely are moving to places like Tucson. That’s led to efforts to attract more of them here, and already led to changes in parts of our economy, like real estate.
Tucson can look mighty good to someone in a high cost, high congestion city. Now that COVID taught workers and companies some jobs can be done almost anywhere there’s strong internet, there’s been a surge of highly paid workers moving to Tucson.
The organization StartUp Tucson’s joined with a long list of corporate partners to put together an incentive package to attract even more.
Startup Tucson CEO Liz Pocock says there are cash incentives and features to make remote workers look at Tucson as more than a temporary home.
“So, we have co-working space that's been donated by a number of our co-working locations here in Tucson. We have an internet service package for a year of free gig internet for their homes once they moved here from Cox. We have a housing partnership with Southwest Urban so they'll help them, you know if they want to buy a house, they'll help them look for that.”
“They come here and they can get a lot more bang for their buck,” says Tucson Association of Realtors President Billy Mordka. He says remote workers coming to Tucson from a place like Silicon Valley can be stunned by how much house their high salaries can buy---so stunned they may not haggle very hard on the price.
“Let's say, many other people that are coming from these more expensive areas of the country, either they have very large down payments they sometimes sold a piece of property and they cashed out, so they can come to Tucson with a suitcase full of cash, and they can pay cash.”
That can raise housing prices overall, on top of the already high demand for houses sparked by low mortgage rates and Tucsonans looking to upgrade to bigger homes so they can work at home more easily. That makes Tucson a dream housing market for the seller but hard on a local buyer who could have trouble coping with the rising rates.