CORT Delivering Rental Relocation Services

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<strong>Fairfax, Va. &mdash; Oct. 31</strong><br />Since the launch of CORT&rsquo;s rental relocation services a year ago, the company is providing services for more than 500 companies to support domestic and international employee relocations and temporary assignments.<br /><br />CORT, a Berkshire Hathaway company and a furniture provider in the &ldquo;rent-to-rent&rdquo; industry for more than 35 years, is providing the nation&rsquo;s first and most comprehensive range of rental relocation services for people and companies in transition.<br /><br />Relocations and temporary assignments are on the rise. The Employee Relocation Council (ERC) estimates that U.S. companies spend $13.5 billion to relocate an average of 720,000 employees each year. More than half of employees permanently relocating and more than 90 percent of employees temporarily assigned to new locations in the United States are renters.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had a tremendous response in the first year of the program, delivering a broad range of rental relocation services to a rapidly growing number of companies, including some of the nation&rsquo;s industry leaders,&rdquo; said Mark Koepsell, senior vice president of business development. &ldquo;Whether relocating employees or opening new offices, human resource and project management professionals appreciate working with a single service provider to address the rental and related needs of employees from a company that can deliver consistent, high-quality services throughout the nation.&rdquo;<br /><br />CORT&rsquo;s rental relocation services include hotels, apartments, corporate housing, single-family home rentals, destination touring services, utility services, renter&rsquo;s insurance, car rental, identity theft recovery, job search assistance for spouses and much more. CORT relocation consultants can assist with virtually any services needed to help employees and their families begin living in new communities.<br /><br />CORT has access to more than 70,000 hotel and extended-stay units and more than 15,000 corporate housing units. CORT also has access to more than 3.8 million apartments across the nation through its service, the nation&rsquo;s most comprehensive online apartment search Web site.<br /><br />The relocation services industry was founded on the need to support homeowners, with many of the largest providers with roots in the real estate, home mortgage and household goods moving industries.<br /><br />In the past, the majority of relocating employees were home buyers. Today, however, more than 53 percent are renters. CORT&rsquo;s relocation services are provided by a company exclusively focused on the needs of renters.<br /><br />From the increased mobility of the workforce enabled by technology to instability in the housing market and the lifestyle choices of a new generation, the workforce is in the midst of a major demographic shift. The relocation market is continuing to evolve to meet the needs of a growing number of renters. Drivers of the market evolution and current rental trends include:<br /><br />Younger workforce: A growing number of young &ldquo;Gen Y&rdquo; employees are entering the workforce as throngs of baby boomers retire, and these young professionals are more likely to rent when they relocate for a job. Over the past four years, the portion of the U.S. workforce comprised of Americans under the age of 30 grew from 14 percent to 21 percent &mdash; the fastest growing segment of the workforce. Companies of all sizes are now targeting Gen Y for up to half of their new hires in an effort to replace an aging workforce.<br /><br />Low unemployment: Competition for top performers has led employers to extend recruiting efforts beyond local talent pools. A recent ERC survey found that 90 percent of companies reported difficulty finding quality job candidates due to low unemployment rates. As a result, more young professionals are being asked to relocate for a job.<br /><br />Housing market instability: Many companies cite a growing number of employees reluctant to relocate due to depressed home resale values. For those homeowners who choose to relocate, companies report that many are renting in their new location while keeping their home in their previous location due to declining home values and the desire to not sell a home at a loss. In some cases, the more stringent standards to qualify for a mortgage are forcing employees to rent, especially if they cannot sell a home in their previous location. Other employees are reluctant to make an investment in a home during a time of such market price volatility.<br /><br />Increasing long-term temporary assignments: Many companies cite a sharp increase in the past year in the number of long-term assignments, in some cases up to twice as many employees than those who are permanently relocated.<br /><br />Lifestyle choices: From young Gen Y employees who don&rsquo;t want to be &ldquo;tied down&rdquo; to a long-term real estate investment to older employees who want enjoy the lifestyle of apartment life in a city, more people are making lifestyle choices to rent.<br /><br />&ldquo;The design of corporate relocation policies with a fresh look at the unique rental-related needs for employees is proving to be a competitive advantage,&rdquo; said Jon Hile, CORT&rsquo;s vice president of rental relocation. &ldquo;There is a growing recognition that meeting the specific needs of renters is a critical strategy to recruit and retain talented employees.&rdquo;<br /><br />Thousands of renters have taken advantage of CORT&rsquo;s touring and destination services. While real estate agents typically support the need for area tours and other destination services for homeowners, renters often have not had access to these services as they struggle to quickly choose an ideal location for a hotel, apartment or home.<br /><br />Employees want a location that provides a manageable commute to work and is conveniently located near schools, shopping, recreation and other amenities. For example, young professionals may prefer a lively urban environment where they can walk to many of their destinations. In a new, unfamiliar city, help in making these choices can be critical to employee job satisfaction and eliminate distractions that can hamper job performance.<br /><br />Renters have quickly discovered the advantages of CORT&rsquo;s network of certified local experts who provide half or full-day tours of cities anywhere in the nation. The tours help renters get to know the area and make wise housing choices.<br /><br />Local market knowledge, including awareness of available rental units, move-in specials and market-specific rental practices, is critical in many locations where occupancy rates may exceed 95 percent. With offices in every major metro market in the United States and long-term working relationships in the communities, CORT is able to provide the local market expertise to help make an employee&rsquo;s transition to a new city a success.<br />

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