The Roanoke Region of Virginia made yet another nationally recognized list as one of the 10 Unique Zoom Towns You’ll Want to Move to in 2022 by Rent.com. So what is a Zoom town? In the article, they refer to it as a community experiencing consequential population increases as remote workers and digital nomads move to town.
Most sources specifically reference Zoom towns as a community that has seen a significant population increase in the wake of the pandemic, with the shift occurring largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The notable move toward remote work is expected to have significant economic implications. Pre-pandemic only 10% or less of the population worked remotely full-time, but those statistics are rapidly changing.
Towns listed in the article were recognized for their livability-related amenities and low cost of living. Remote workers have the luxury of moving anywhere in the country, which gives a clear advantage to outdoor destinations where biking, hiking, skiing, paddling, or other outdoor activities provide an easy escape regardless of COVID status.
The Roanoke Regional Partnership’s decade-long effort to brand the Roanoke Region as an outdoor wonderland has paid dividends during the pandemic as people flee larger cities for clean air, open spaces, and affordable housing. The article in Rent.com is just one of many national features in the past several months highlighting this phenomenon.
Below is an excerpt featuring the section about Roanoke, VA from the original Rent.com post by Charlsie Niemiec published on October 5, 2021.
- Average 1-BR rent: $817
- Median home sale price: n/a
- Population: 100,011
Tucked in the southwest corner in the U.S. commonwealth of Virginia is Roanoke, a unique Zoom town so dazzling and community-minded that it’s known as the “Star City of the South.” Sandwiched between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Virginia Alleghany Highlands, this cultural hub has a vibrant downtown and tons of world-class outdoor recreation. Plus, Roanoke is very cheap and affordable in this picturesque city.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the number of people telecommuting skyrocketed, Roanoke had its sights set on becoming a Zoom town. While this former railroad town has low unemployment rates and opportunities in the healthcare, education and manufacturing industries — remote work has consistently boomed in Roanoke since 2018. Also, laptop workers will have their pick of co-working spaces like CoLab and FACTORY, plus awesome coffee shops like Mill Mountain Coffee and the woman-owned and family-operated Little Green Hive to work out of.
In Roanoke, the mountains are always calling. Weekends here consist of climbing Tinker Mountain, kayaking Smith Mountain Lake and exploring the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests. Looking for arts and culture in Roanoke? Check out the impressive art collection at the Taubman Museum of Art or plan a night seeing a show at Opera Roanoke.
Experience Roanoke like a local and head to downtown Roanoke’s farmers market, a city staple here since 1882, to check out the produce, flowers, fresh meats and artisanal hand-crafted items. Hungry? Stop by Hollywood’s for a cup of its must-have white chicken chili and Pop’s in the Grandin area for a basket of smile fries and an ice cream soda float.
Recently named one of LinkedIn’s Top 20 Remote-Work Havens, Roanoke is a perfect Zoom town for remote workers seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of big cities.