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Big Opportunity: the Relocation Renter

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By John B. Sculley, SCRP

Shifts in corporate relocation programs are also generating a higher proportion of renters. Relocation assistance policies are overall less generous than was true a decade ago. Companies are more likely to base their assistance on the economic value of the job to be filled rather than on particular individual and family needs.

As a result, employees and new hires in entry-level and even mid-level jobs may be eligible for only limited corporate relocation assistance or just a lump-sum allowance. Access to real estate sale/purchase benefits is especially restricted because of their high costs. This pattern increases the proportion of renters in two ways: by making transfers more financially feasible for renter candidates than for homeowners; and by converting some transferring homeowners into renters because they lack company-paid real estate benefits.

Some of the increase in renters is demographically driven — a younger work force, more women (now the majority of new-hire transfers), more singles, etc. However, part of the increase results from corporate administrative changes bringing into daylight many renter moves that historically were handled informally and “under the radar”. Employers in the past often handled their simplest moves locally — maybe issuing a check and making a referral to a mover or broker. As employers have centralized mobility programs and expanded their outsourcing of mobility functions to their relocation management companies, they generally have tried to sweep all types of move management into the RMC conduit, which is ideal for their data capture and cost management purposes. These low-profile localized moves had been mostly of invisible renters, but now they are accounted for in the total transfer population.

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