“We need more elbow room,” said Joyce Lilly, explaining their move to Washingtonville, New York. “Because we’ve been locked in the apartment for three months, three solid months, I feel like I’m out of jail and want to get as far away as possible.
Anxious New Yorkers after weathering the worst of the coronavirus pandemic are fueling a boom in home sales and rentals around quaint towns and wooded hills in the north. Real estate brokers and agents recently described a hot market, with many home hunters able to work from home.
“There has been a huge increase in people from Manhattan, no doubt about it,” said Steven Domber, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties. “First, it’s the cabin fever, which wants to get out of an apartment and have a piece of land if, God forbid, there is a lockdown again.
The Catskill Mountains and the bucolic expanses of the valley beyond the city’s northern suburbs are long-standing getaways for city dwellers. But agents say the sales and rental activity is way above normal. Domber sales increased by almost a third year-over-year in June. Builder Chuck Petersheim said he took eight orders in a month, compared to the usual month and a half.
New York City is not, however, likely to widen any time soon. The wave at the top of the state is more like a net in a city of 8.3 million people. With new homes in the area ranging from under $ 200,000 to over $ 1 million, they are an escape hatch many cannot afford. But the surge in sales and long-term rentals shows how less hospitable New Yorkers who have endured the worst of the pandemic see the city.
“We just don’t think the city will be the city we lived in,” said Susan Cohen, who rented a house in Rhinebeck with her husband after taking refuge in their Upper East Side apartment.
“For six weeks in our two-bedroom apartment, everything we talked about was vaccine-free, we will never go on the metro again, we would hesitate to take the bus back, we will not go to the movies. we’re not going to the theater… So what do we have for the next two years in Manhattan? And we said, ‘Why are we living here?’ ”
The county-level home sales figures for May still show a decline from a year ago, but this reflects the one to two month lag between accepted offers and closings. Agents describe recent weeks of bidding wars over homes that languished in the market and new listings bought quickly by cash buyers. Real estate agent John Murphy said some homes are selling for $ 100,000 or more above asking prices.
“I think it was the event that got people out of the fence,” said broker Gary DiMauro. “I think we also have people who were considering buying a first or second home here to pull the trigger.”
Home hunters Tony Speciale and Jerry Marsini learned of the competition recently when they walked through the front door of a home in Kingston as their agent received a message from the seller about a cash offer from someone. ‘another.
“If we find a house that interests us, staying there for more than a few days doesn’t seem like a good idea,” Speciale said.
Manhattan residents, who were searching for the upstate even before the pandemic, are buying a home in Kingston.
The Hudson Valley isn’t the only area outside of New York City to experience a bump.
Along the Jersey Shore, there are many more home buyers than homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Homes are selling for above asking price and “once something hits the market, everyone jumps on it,” said Wendy Smith, president of Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors. On the tip of Long Island, a preservation fund funded by a real estate transfer tax in the five cities of the East End increased 39% in the first half of the year, according to state assemblyman Fred Thiele.
Extremely low mortgage rates are helping the market, as are the more expansive work-from-home policies that marked the start of the pandemic. Joyce Lilly is an acupuncturist, but she said her husband’s ability to work remotely as an IT manager was the deciding factor in Riverdale’s move to the Bronx on Tuesday, which included her daughter, a granddaughter and a dog . Cohen just retired in January and her husband is able to work as a financial technology consultant from home.
For music and video producer Erik Braund, moving his family of four from the Upper East Side to Saugerties has been a learning curve on how to keep his production company about 100 miles north of his studio. from Brooklyn. They jumped on a fixer upper at the start of the lockdown, but keep their apartment.
They might fit in, but not the way it is now.
“Whenever some kind of rapid test becomes available, we will re-evaluate. We are fundamentally re-evaluating our life every day, ”he said,“ I am so grateful that I was able to make it happen.