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  • Camille Haynes

Is the Health Crisis Driving Buyers Out of New York City?


The pandemic has caused prospective buyers from major metropolitan areas like New York and Philadephia to re-examine the components that make up the “perfect home.” Many families are no longer comfortable with the locations and layouts of their existing homes. The allure of city life (more congested) seems to be giving way to either suburban or rural life (less congested) that the New Jersey suburbs offer. As a result, an influx of New York City buyers are now considering purchasing in the Essex and Union County area and they are currently experiencing quite a boom.


Recently, Jeffrey Otteau of the Otteau Group, a Real Estate Valuation and Advisory Company discussed the impact of the pandemic on the New Jersey housing market. Homebuyers currently living in New York are re-evaluating their living options with some wanting the privacy, multiple living levels, and space that some New Jersey homes and communities offer. The fear of staying in close quarters with other should a second wave of Covid-19 hit has really made areas like Union & Essex County quite attractive. This migration from New York also helps a strong and healthy rebound to the NJ housing market.



Recently, news.com released a report that revealed how buyers’ views of listings are leaning heavily to more suburban and rural properties. Here are the year-over-year percentage increases in views per property type:

  • Urban – 7%

  • Suburban – 13%

  • Rural – 16%

In the report, Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for realtor.com, gives these numbers some context:

“This migration to the suburbs is not a new trend, but it has become more pronounced. After several months of shelter-in-place orders, the desire to have more space and the potential for more people to work remotely are likely two of the factors contributing to the popularity of the burbs.”


Realtor Magazine also just reported that the desire to move is strongest in our city markets:

“Nearly 30% of respondents living in a high-density urban area say that the pandemic is prompting them to want to move by the end of the year…This is more than double the rate of those living in rural parts of the country, where residents are much more likely to stay put rather than to relocate.”


New Construction Also Seeing a Surge in Views

Since the pandemic has altered how consumers think about floor plans, builders are anticipating how future homes will change. In a recent press release by Zillow, it was explained that:

  • Builders believe as people spend more time at home during the pandemic, buyers are realizing which features of their homes are working and not working.

  • Homebuilders predict open-concept floor plans will be a thing of the past, as people now value more walls, doors, and overall privacy.

  • New construction, which offers the chance to personalize home features, saw its listing page views grow by 73% over last May.

The fascination with an open floor plan seems to be fading as people are finding a need for more privacy while working from home. There is now a growing need to have dedicated home offices, pools, workout rooms or even soundproof rooms for videoconferencing.


Bottom Line

It appears that a percentage of people are preparing to leave many American cities including New York City. Some of these moves will be permanent, while others will be temporary (such as a getaway to a second home). In either case, many consumers are on the move. Camille is ready and willing to help in any way she can.

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