Back-to-office mandates are pushing some Americans to sell homes at a loss

Homebuyers can save more than $1,000 a month by comparing offers from different lenders: Freddie Mac (iStock)

In a housing market plagued by record-low availability, homebuyers could see more listings as back-to-office mandates force sellers to find a deal sooner – even if it means taking a loss.

In fact, return-to-work policies are encouraging one in 10 (10.1%) U.S. home sellers to move, according to a survey commissioned by Redfin.

Three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, major employers have issued back-to-work mandates that require employees to return to their offices at least part-time. These include Amazon, Apple, Goldman Sachs, Google, JPMorgan Chase and Meta. In fact, 90% of companies would have required workers to return to physical office work by the end of 2024, according to a survey by

These mandates would also mean that many home sellers would need to act quickly, with some taking a major hit or losing their jobs. Boise, Idaho-based Redfin Premier real estate agent Shauna Pendleton, who works with two clients who had to move to Seattle for work, shared an example.

"My sellers both work at the same company, which told them they have to be in the office three days a week or they’ll lose their jobs," Pendleton said. "They have six months to make the move. They’ll probably have to take a $100,000 loss on their home."

But waves of home sellers are also relocating for other reasons including the cost of living, taxes and crime rates. 

"Real estate is all about priorities and compromise," Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in a statement. "While a lot of homeowners are staying put, refusing to give up their rock-bottom mortgage rates, some are opting to trade their low rate for a safer neighborhood, lower taxes and/or neighbors with the same political views."

If you’re ready to become a homeowner, it could help to compare mortgage options from different lenders to get the best rate. Visit Credible to compare different lenders without affecting your credit score.

Consumer credit increased by nearly $5 trillion

High home prices driven by low inventory 

The median home price is about $376,250, marking an annual increase of 3.9%, according to the latest housing market data by Redfin. And these price tags are having a major impact on many would-be homebuyers.

"High prices, elevated rates and the lack of inventory is sending some buyers to the sidelines," Redfin said in its report. "Mortgage-purchase applications are hovering near a three-decade low and pending home sales are down 12% year over year."

In particular, high mortgage rates pushed average monthly housing payments to record highs. With typical mortgage rates hovering at 7% or higher, the median monthly mortgage payment hit a record of  $2,632, according to Redfin’s data. But there are still ways to find the best mortgage rate even in the current housing market. 

"Potential homebuyers can still benefit during these times of high mortgage rates by shopping around for the best rate quote," Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a statement. "Freddie Mac research suggests homebuyers can potentially save $600-$1,200 annually by applying for mortgages from multiple lenders." 

If you’re looking to reduce the costs of home buying, you could benefit by comparing your options to find the best mortgage rate. Visit Credible to get your personalized rate in minutes. 

 These are the most affordable states to buy a home

How to get the best mortgage rate

Despite headlines about a housing market hit with high home prices and elevated interest rates, savvy homebuyers can still land deals. One way is by increasing their credit scores. Americans can get a free credit report online once a year through each of the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This can help you identify any discrepancies that you can challenge to have removed, potentially boosting your credit score. 

Raising your credit score can have a huge impact. The typical consumer looking for a $300,000 home loan could expect a 30-year- fixed-rate mortgage with an APR of 8% with a credit score of 659 or lower. But that rate drops to 7.64% with a score of 660 or higher. 

Cutting down on debt, freeing up available credit and staying up-to-date on monthly payments can significantly impact consumers' credit scores. People struggling with high-interest debt could consider paying it off with a personal loan at a lower interest rate.  

The average credit card interest rate is about 20.68%, according to Federal Reserve data. However, the average personal loan interest rate is around 11.48%, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 

Reducing your monthly payments can also free up money to make a larger down payment, which is a favorable indicator for lenders. 

"Simply put, the more money you put down towards your mortgage, the less you will owe on the loan," JPMorgan Chase said in a post. "If you can make a larger down payment, you could have more equity in your home from the start. Not only will you need to repay less principal (the amount you owe on a loan excluding interest), you'll also pay less interest over the life of the loan since it is calculated on the principal owed."

If you’re ready to enter the housing market, you could consider shopping around for the best mortgage rates. Visit Credible to speak with a home loan expert and get your questions answered. 

Gen Zers credit card balances grow the fastest: TransUnion

Have a finance-related question, but don't know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.