Last year — before working from home became the new normal — Suzie Soloviev of Methuen gave up her job in Cambridge. She was spending three hours per day commuting.

“I was pretty unhappy, and a lot of it had to do with the commute," she said. "There was just no time or space for me to do anything except work and try to survive.”

Soloviev began a consulting business, which she runs from her home. Her husband, Greg, works at MIT but hasn't been to the office since it was closed in mid-March. After some adjusting, he found he can do all of his work from home, and he thinks that's what he will be doing for some time. That has made the Soloviev realize that they may not need to stay in a community where access to Boston comes at a premium.

“We're desperate for cheap housing, so if we have a chance to move away from the city and still have city-level pay, we're going to do it.” Soloviev said. “Now that people have the option to work from wherever they want, why wouldn't they go somewhere where they would be happier?”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, more people are working from home to avoid the crowding and close social contact that comes with commuting to and working in an office. Earlier this month, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker made it clear that telecommuting is an important part of his strategy to reopen the Commonwealth's economy, and he has enlisted the support of many of the state’s biggest companies to keep their employees working from home for as long as possible to allow for social distancing.

This new flexibility to work from home could give more people the freedom to ditch their commutes and choose to live farther away from Boston, real estate experts say, which could fundamentally change the housing market.

Tim Warren, CEO of the Warren Group, which tracks real estate sales in Massachusetts, says he has heard a lot of conversations about a new trend emerging in the real estate market as a result of the pandemic: buyers wanting to move away from the city and to rural parts of the state — like western Mass and Cape Cod. Those areas previously would not have been possibilities for people who had to show up to work at an office in Boston.

"As office workers become skilled at doing their jobs remotely and grow fond of the time freed up from their daily commutes, they may seek homes in suburban or rural communities instead of homes closer to their city-based employers," Warren said. "Some industry professionals that I have spoken with think that prospective buyers will value the lower health risks achieved by living in less densely populated towns and neighborhoods."

Waiting for those prospective buyers with open arms is State Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow, who has been waging a campaign to attract young families to his part of the state for years. He said he has found the work-from-home phenomenon to be working in his favor.

“People are realizing that it's actually a pretty good gig to work from home," Lesser said. "You don't have a commute, and you can do it in a location that's much more spread out and offers a lot more open space and, frankly, just a lot more land and lot bigger house for a lot less money.”

And if homes 30 to 40 miles from Boston are cheaper than those 10 miles from the city, that solves the affordability problem as well. But the success of purchasing a home well-removed from the headquarters office will hinge on employers feeling confident that working from home is more productive than working in the office."

Cape Cod Realtor Lisa Parenteau said the Cape has always been a very sound investment opportunity for people who have the ability to work from home. "The current climate however has made it even more attractive to migrate from the more dense suburbs or congested urban areas, and we're seeing more people consider calling Cape Cod their primary residence."

The Cape Cod Association of Realtors reports there were more accepted offers on single family homes last week (May 18- May 24) than the same week in 2019. It is a dramatic turnabout from the 30 to 50 percent declines in accepted offers recorded in the weeks since Baker announced the stay at home advisory. "I believe some portion of that is due to the dramatic increase in telecommuting," Parenteau told WGBH News.

Lesser said the experience of telecommuting is changing employee's expecations as well. “This has fundamentally changed, I think, how people are going to view their jobs, how they're going to view commuting. I don't think that people are going to want to go back to a nine-to-five, hour, hour-and-a-half, two-hour commute each way when they're realizing a lot of what they need to get done in the day can get done on their laptop.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to the Soloviev family as “Soliviev.” WGBH News apologizes for the error.