: ‘Offices are toast’: CEO of real estate investment platform Fundrise is betting workers won’t return to city centers

by | Jul 22, 2022 | Stock Market

For New Jersey-based tech consultant Simone, being able to work from home is a non-negotiable. Saving money and time on a long commute to work “means a lot,” she told MarketWatch. Simone has been working from home since 2019, when she decided that being the only employee at her office didn’t make sense, particularly given that she was just on Zoom
meetings all day with her team in California.

Driving to a job in New York City, where office occupancy is rising, according to data from Kastle Systems, which tracks key-card swipes, would be an hour-long journey door to door. Simone’s preferred work setup is one that one real-estate company is banking on when it comes to investing in homes. “Offices are in big trouble,” Ben Miller, co-founder and CEO of Fundrise, told MarketWatch. Fundrise, a real estate startup that was founded 2011, manages a fund that allows users to invest small-dollar amounts in real estate to capture price appreciation. The company also acts as a landlord, and has invested in properties across the country. In Miller’s view, the coronavirus pandemic stimulated a larger cultural awakening that questioned the efficiency of working in-person in an office after nationwide lockdowns didn’t deter white-collar workers from continuing to work from home. Fundrise is now betting on the fact that more Americans will choose to live in the suburbs, and not return to big office-oriented city centers. Miller said that he initially saw growth in markets like Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. But after five years, Fundrise decided to exit these markets. It’s expensive to liv …

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