“We must get out of here as quickly as possible”: the exodus has started in New York, a city bruised by the coronavirus
07/13 at 8:11 p.m.
Update 07/13 at 8:11 p.m.
The trauma of the coronavirus pandemic has already pushed many New Yorkers to leave the city for good as soon as possible, leaving many empty apartments and causing real estate prices to soar around the metropolis.
“I was not ready to go”, recalls Nick Barnhorst when he sees each other again in February. At 41, in New York for 11 years, in love with the city, he was thinking of a move, but not for at least a year.
In the space of a few weeks, his wife became pregnant with her third child and the coronavirus ravaged New York. In just one time, “it has become: we must get out of here as quickly as possible “.
Next week, Nick is expected to sign the deed of sale for a house in Mamaroneck, a wealthy town north of New York.
“I had always imagined that leaving would be heartbreaking”, said this native Californian, “but today I am at the height of enthusiasm.”
A weekend away with his parents-in-law in Massachusetts at the beginning of March, a friend of Nick’s was much more radical. He never returned to live in New York.
His wife eight months pregnant, he sold his apartment and bought in Bronxville, a town located immediately north of the Bronx neighborhood.
“Nothing that makes New York New York currently works”, underlines Nick, because theaters, bars, cinemas, concert halls, or museums have not reopened. “So it’s easier to leave her.”
In a boiling real estate market, which “leaves no room for negotiation”, Nick had to struggle to find the house he was looking for.
Around the popular town of Montclair, New Jersey, it’s no longer uncommon to see homes selling for more than 20% above the listed price, according to data from Richard Stanton, owner of Stanton Realtors. .
“I did not expect such a strong demand”, explains the real estate agent, who does not expect supply to catch up with demand for six months or even a year.
A resident of Darien, Connecticut, said on condition of anonymity that he received several calls from potential buyers when his house was not for sale. “This is the first time that it happens to me”, he said.
The telework factor
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio often compare the current situation with the one that followed 9/11, the city’s other great trauma, promising the same rebound.
But in terms of real estate, the repercussions of the attacks “were anecdotal”, tempers Richard Stanton.
“After September 11, the pride of New Yorkers rather made me want to move to New York”, says Dillon Kondor, guitarist who was then a teenager and lived in the suburbs of the metropolis.
He, who has worked on several Broadway musicals, also took the plunge in June and left New York for an apartment in Tarrytown, in the Hudson Valley.
For him, everything changed with one of the first beautiful days of spring, during a walk in Central Park, crowded, where masks were too rare for his liking.
Returning with his wife, “one of us said: we must leave this city”.
In New York, at the beginning of July, moving trucks abound during the day.
In lower Manhattan, more than 5% of apartments are vacant, unheard of in ten years that the real estate firm Miller Samuel has published these statistics.
More than 9/11, Richard Stanton compares the current economic situation to the period 2003-2005, which saw a wave of New Yorkers pushed out by rising rents.
He also evokes the 1970s, marked by a degradation of public services and an increase in crime, which many of those who could afford it had fled.
But this time, in addition to the coronavirus effect, “there is a stronger trend linked to the fact that there will be more people working from home”, Richard Stanton analysis. In many cases, “we will have a shorter week at the office”.
This movement could even bring down the real estate fever in New York and allow a new generation to settle in a city that would otherwise have been inaccessible to them, imagines the real estate agent.
At first, Dillon chose to rent, not to rule out, while waiting for Broadway to restart. But he finds it difficult to plan to return to New York. “There are so many unknowns that it seems hard to imagine.”