International business relocation to the U.S. is returning to its once glorious state – in a big way. As international and domestic economies improve, more global enterprises are expanding their operations and increasing their number of employees in the U.S.
In fact, 15 percent more people moved into the U.S. than left in 2013, a jump from 7 percent in 2012, UniGroup Relocation, the international arm of the United Van Lines, found. In addition, the national multifamily housing industry is realizing at least a five percent increase in international employees moving to the U.S., according to CORT, a Berkshire Hathaway company.
“We are seeing significant growth in the oil and gas sector in Texas as well as some secondary and tertiary markets and a lot of technology business opportunities, especially in the Bay area and the Pacific Northwest,” said Jeff Rowe, vice president of destination services for CORT.
The boom in oil production in the U.S. is leading employees and companies to relocate to major metropolitan areas such as Houston, and is also driving a lot of transferees into smaller communities such as Midland, TX; Williston, ND; Houma, LA, and Worland, WY.
As a result, these booming areas have seen a shortage in housing, posing a difficult challenge for employees relocating domestically and from overseas. “In ND, for example, men have been living in makeshift man camps,” Rowe said. “However, housing is starting to catch up as new apartment communities come online,” Rowe said.
Still, in some markets such as San Francisco, apartments and other rental homes are usually snapped up the same day they are listed. That is true in many other growing regions of the U.S. as well, thanks to the burgeoning rental market. “Four to five years ago, 65 percent or more of transferees were home buyers. Today, 65 percent are renting. The relocation market has completely flipped, and it looks like it is not going to change in the near future. Add to this dynamic, you now have an enormous population of college graduates entering the rental market as they leave their parents homes. All indicators point to a landlord’s market for the near future,” Rowe said.
One upside is that it costs businesses an average of $65,000 less to relocate a renter than a homeowner, according to the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (WERC).
However, this landlord’s market scenario is creating a situation in which, not only is it difficult to find housing, but it is difficult for transferring employees to secure a short-term lease of 6 months or less.
As a result of strong occupancy in many cities, international corporations are faced with more challenges than ever before. “The challenge is, how do they get their employee into the new city, settled down, and into their new position as quickly as possible? The more time that takes, the less productive that employee is,” Rowe said. In some cases, the employer may enlist another employee to help the transferee search for rental housing. That takes two employees away from their jobs for potentially a few days, therefore further decreasing productivity for the business.
Plus, international business relocation has its own set of issues that are not necessarily challenges in a domestic move. “You are dealing with things like visa and immigration, navigating Social Security, DMV, establishing bank accounts, finding the right housing and getting kids in desired schools.” Rowe said.
These relocation challenges are leading more employers to seek out destination services providers that work directly with employees on all aspects of the relocation.
“As a transferee and a corporation, working with a destination services company like CORT that that has significant knowledge and understanding of the market you are moving to, has a real benefit to the employer and the transferee. Particularly in competitive housing markets, you need to talk with an experienced destination services consultant who knows where the right housing availability is and will guide you through the entire process. Destination service providers will save the employee a great deal of time, with the objective of having the employee up and productive at work as quickly as possible, according to Rowe.”
CORT Destination Services knows the rental home and apartment landscape like no one else. The company has built longstanding relationships with the rental housing industry across the US and is second to none when it comes to rental knowledge.
CORT Destination Services not only helps relocating employees find housing, but handles all aspects of the settling-in process. Now more than ever, a reputable destination service provider may prove to contribute more to the assignees initial productivity and long term job satisfaction than ever before.
A destination service provider’s objective is very simple, as they work on behalf of the corporation to make each move as seamless as possible for the transferee, their family and the employer while increasing productivity and job satisfaction.