ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK

Social distancing has led to a social migration for many New Yorkers trying to ride out the crisis. The pandemic has people rethinking their living situation and considering relocating to less densely populated areas. Surrounding states and counties have all seen an increase in new residents from New York City and New York State’s Hudson Valley region has become an attractive oasis for weekenders and second home owners. But some real estate insiders say social distancing and working from home means many New Yorkers who moved in to flee the virus may never move out.

Aired on April 30, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

> HI, I'M JENNA FLANAGAN OF 'METROFOCUS.'

AS NEW YORK CITY CONTINUES TO BATTLE THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS, SOME NEW YORKERS HAVE OPTED TO RIDE OUT THE CRISIS IN NEIGHBORING STATES AND COMMUNITIES.

COULD THIS BE THE BEGINNING OF A NEW MIGRATION?

THE NEW YORK ON PAUSE STATEWIDE EXECUTIVE ORDER HAS PROVEN THAT, NOT ALL EMPLOYEES NEED TO BE IN THE OFFICE, AND SOME EMPLOYERS MIGHT BE LOOKING TO DOWNSIZE THEIR OFFICE CAPACITY IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE MORE SOCIAL DISTANCING AS THE CITY BEGINS TO REOPEN.

SO JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT A POSSIBLE POST COVID-19 REAL ESTATE BOOM IS TIM SWEENEY, A LICENSED REAL ESTATE BROKER AND PRESIDENT OF THE HUDSON VALLEY CATSKILL REGION MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME ON.

ABSOLUTELY.

FIRST OFF, I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT SO MANY BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY, OF COURSE, THE SHUTDOWNS THAT HAVE HAPPENED AS A RESULT OF CORONAVIRUS.

I WAS WONDERING WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE REAL ESTATE?

AGAIN, THAT'S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT BUT I'M SURE HAS TAKEN A HIT.

WE'VE BEEN DEEMED ESSENTIAL BUT WITH MAJOR RESTRICTIONS.

THE BIGGEST RESTRICTION IS REALTORS ARE TASKED WITH WORKING FROM HOME TODAY.

WE CAN'T MEET BUYERS FACE-TO-FACE.

WE CAN SET UP AND DO VIRTUAL SHOWINGS FOR BUYERS WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE SELLER, STILL SEND LISTINGS OUT.

PEOPLE ARE LOOKING ONLINE RIGHT NOW FOR HOUSES.

OKAY.

I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THE GOVERNOR MADE SOME CHANGES TO AT LEAST AROUND THE REGULATIONS OF HOW REAL ESTATE WOULD BE WORKING.

I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD PERHAPS EXPLAIN SOME OF THAT.

WITH THE STAY-AT-HOME, SHELTER-IN-PLACE EXECUTIVE ORDER, IT LIMITED WHAT REALTORS COULD DO.

WE'RE ALLOWED AT THIS POINT TO BASICALLY, AS I SAID, VIRTUAL SHOWINGS, WORK FROM OUR OFFICE.

IF A SELLER DEMANDS THAT A BUYER CAN SEE THEIR HOUSE, WE'RE ALLOWED TO EXCHANGE PHONE NUMBERS.

WE HAVE NO ABILITY TO FACILITATE SHOWINGS AT THIS POINT FACE-TO-FACE.

AND YET PEOPLE ARE STILL LOOKING.

IT IS CERTAINLY NO SECRET THAT THE HUDSON VALLEY AND THE CATSKILL REGION IS WILDLY POPULAR FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE MARKET FOR A SECOND HOME.

I WAS WONDERING WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE POPULATION DIFFERENCE WE'VE SEEN JUST AS A RESULT OF THE IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS IN THIS CITY, MEANING PEOPLE FROM THE CITY WHO EITHER FILLED UP HOUSES OR AIRBNBS IN THE HUDSON VALLEY/CATSKILL REGION.

WHEN THIS FIRST BROKE, DEMAND FOR RENTALS WAS THROUGH THE ROOF.

RENTALS ARE CONTROLLED BY ONLINE PLATFORMS.

WE'RE INUNDATED WITH PHONE CALLS FOR RENTALS.

I WOULD ESTIMATE -- THE ROSENDALE, MARBLE TOWN, ROCHESTER AREA, I WOULD SAY WE HAVE AN INCREASE IN POPULATION OF 5,000 TO 6,000 PEOPLE IN THIS PARTICULAR AREA.

IT'S BEEN A PRETTY BIG MIGRATION.

THE SERVICES -- I OWN A SECOND BUSINESS, A WINE AND SPIRIT SHOP, AND WE'VE HAD VERY, VERY BRISK SALES.

AGAIN, FIVE OR 6,000 PEOPLE FOR A VERY DENSELY POPULATED AREA LIKE NEW YORK CITY MIGHT NOT SEEM LIKE MUCH.

THAT COULD BE A BLOCK OR SOMETHING.

HERE A DIFFERENCE OF FIVE OR 6,000 PEOPLE IS DIFFERENT.

THOSE THREE TOWNS HAVE ABOUT 18,000 RESIDENTS.

HAVING FIVE TO 6,000 PEOPLE IS A HUGE INCREASE IN THAT AREA FOR THAT, GROCERY STORES AND SUCH.

I SHOULD ALSO CLARIFY AS A HUDSON VALLEY RESIDENT, THAT'S WHY IT'S HERE FOR ME.

IT'S DEFINITELY SOMETHING YOU CAN FEEL, THAT THERE IS NOTICEABLY MORE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITIES.

I ALSO MENTIONED THAT SOME PEOPLE MAY BE REALIZING THAT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO GO BACK.

I'M WONDERING IF THERE COULD BE THE BEGINNINGS OF A DEMOGRAPHICS SHIFT COMING TO THE HUDSON VALLEY AND CATSKILL REGIONS AS PEOPLE CONSIDER, WELL, MAYBE WE CAN GET A HOUSE FOR WHAT WOULD JUST BE AN APARTMENT FULL TIME.

NO QUESTION THERE'S GOING TO BE AN INCREASE IN THE POPULATION AFTER THIS.

PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO TELECOMMUTE.

COMPANIES HAVE SEEN THAT PEOPLE CAN WORK REMOTELY.

I WOULD THINK THEY MIGHT NOT NEED AS MUCH BRICK AND MORTAR IN THE CITY IN TERMS OF PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO WORK.

I THINK WE'LL SEE AN INCREASE AT THIS POINT.

HOW LARGE REMAINS TO BE SEEN, BUT IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

OF COURSE.

ALSO, GIVEN THAT THE HUDSON VALLEY AND ESPECIALLY THE CATSKILLS ARE KNOWN FOR BEING SO MUCH MORE RURAL, IN FACT, THAT'S KIND OF THEIR CALLING CARD OF BEAUTY, FIRST AND FOREMOST, DO YOU KNOW IF THOSE AREAS HAVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY?

FOR EXAMPLE, NOT EVERYBODY IS GOING TO HAVE THE SAME QUALITY OF INTERNET CONNECTION.

THAT'S GOING TO BE CRITICAL IF MORE PEOPLE BEGIN TO MOVE UP AND EXPECT TO TELECOMMUTE.

BUT ALSO THERE'S ISSUES AROUND HOSPITALS AND EMS, FIRE DEPARTMENT S AND VOLUNTEER.

IS THERE ENOUGH INFRASTRUCTURE TO SUPPORT AN ADDITIONAL FIVE OR 6,000 PEOPLE BUT IN, LET'S SAY, EVERY SMALL COMMUNITY THAT ONLY HAD FIVE OR 6,000 PEOPLE?

WELL, IN TERMS OF INTERNET, LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT FIRST.

THAT WILL BE AN ISSUE IN SOME AREAS.

TIME WARNER, WHICH IS SPECTRUM NOW, IS NOT COMPLETE THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY.

THAT WILL BE AN ISSUE.

THE TOWNS THAT DO HAVE IT, I WOULD SAY HAVE PRETTY MUCH THE INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE AND THE ABILITY TO REACT TO THAT.

WE HAVE GOOD GROCERY STORES, GOOD SERVICES.

IN TERMS OF EMS AND HEALTH CARE, I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE TO BE EXPANDED IN TIME, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

GENERALLY, GLOUCESTER COUNTY IS WELL POSITIONED TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE AN INFLUX OF NEW CITIZENS.

OF COURSE.

JUST FOR A LITTLE GEOGRAPHY WHO MAY NOT BE 100% FAMILIAR WITH THE HUDSON VALLEY REGION.

ULSTER COUNTY IS ABOUT THREE COUNTIES NORTH OF THE CITIES ON THE WEST BANK OF THE RIVER.

IF YOU LEAVE NEW YORK CITY AND GO NORTH, YOU HIT ROCKLAND COUNTY, ORANGE COUNTY AND THEN ULSTER COUNTY.

BETWEEN ALBANY AND NEW YORK CITY.

EXACTLY.

ABOUT 90 MILES.

I'M SPEAKING WITH REAL ESTATE BROKER TIM SWEENEY, ALSO THE PRESIDENT OF THE HUDSON VALLEY CATSKILL REGION MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE.

I ALSO WANT TO GET INTO A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE AFFECT THAT COULD HAVE ON REAL ESTATE PRICES.

PART OF WHAT MAKES THE AREA SO ATTRACTIVE REAL ESTATEWISE, ASIDE FROM THE ROLLING HILLS AND MOUNTAINS, IS THE FACT THAT REAL ESTATE IS OF FORDABLE.

WHAT IS AFFORDABLE TO, SAY, A WORKING CLASS FAMILY WHO IS FROM THE HUDSON AND THE CATSKILLS IS VERY DIFFERENT TO WHAT'S AFFORDABLE TO PERHAPS SOMEONE WHO IS IN A MIDDLE CLASS SALARY, BUT A MIDDLE CLASS SALARY IN THE CITY.

WE'RE TALKING THE DIFFERENCE OF TENS OF THOUSANDS, SOMETIMES HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

YES.

I WOULD SAY THE SWEET SPOT FOR MIDDLE CLASS WOULD BE FROM THE $225,000 TO $350,000 RANGE AT THAT POINT.

WE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF HOMES IN THE $225,000 RANGE.

WE COULD USE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE COUNTY WITHOUT A DOUBT.

THAT'S SOMETHING NEW COUNTY EXECUTIVE PAT RILEY HAS ON HIS RADAR AT THIS POINT, WHICH WOULD BE GREAT FOR THE COMMUNITY.

WE HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE WITH THIS SITUATION.

UNFORTUNATELY AFTER 9/11, WE SAW A BIG EXODUS FROM NEW YORK CITY, PEOPLE MOVING TO THE AREA.

AT THAT TIME THE AVERAGE SALE PRICE WAS $210,000.

SEVEN YEARS LATER IT WAS $300,000.

AFTER THE BANK CRISIS IN 2009 HOUSING DEPRECIATED TO ABOUT $230,000.

THE END OF LAST YEAR WE WERE BACK TO $300,000.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 9/11 AND NOW IS WE'RE STARTING AT A FAIRLY APPRECIATED MARKET.

IT'S INTERESTING TO SEE WHERE THAT'S GOING TO GO.

I DON'T KNOW HOW THAT'S GOING TO PLAY OUT EXACTLY.

OF COURSE.

WITH THE EXPECTED RECESSION ADDED TO THAT, I WOULD ASSUME IT WOULD CHANGE WHAT THE NUMBERS MIGHT BE?

IT'S GOING TO BE VERY INTERESTING TO SEE.

EVEN THROUGH THE RECESSION, WE'RE EXPECTING -- I THINK THE HUDSON VALLEY REGION MIGHT BE ONE OF THOSE HOT AREAS.

IT'S GOING TO BE VERY INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

IT WILL BE FASCINATING TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

ALSO, AGAIN, WITH THE WIDE OPEN SPACES, IS THERE THE HOUSING STOCK, DO YOU SEE THIS BEING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PERHAPS MORE OLDER HOMES TO BE REHABILITATED IN A WAY -- AND LOVED IN A WAY THEY HAVEN'T BEEN IN 100, MAYBE OVER 100 YEARS, OR DO YOU SEE THE POTENTIAL FOR A BOOM IN REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT?

IF THAT'S THE CASE, THIS WOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH SEVERAL DIFFERENT LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO APPROVE.

SURE.

IT'S INTERESTING.

THE REASON OUR HOUSING PRICES ARE HIGH RIGHT NOW IS BECAUSE WE HAVE VERY LOW INVENTORY.

THERE'S NOT MUCH INVENTORY OUT THERE.

I THINK IT WOULD BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DEVELOPMENT.

CERTAINLY SOMETIMES ARE MORE FRIENDLY TO DEVELOPMENT THAN OTHERS, AND THERE WILL BE STRESS ON THAT IN TERMS OF PEOPLE WANTING TO BUILD.

I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE AN INTERESTING DYNAMIC TO WATCH HOW THIS PLAYS THROUGH.

ONE THING WE DO NOT HAVE IS ADEQUATE HOUSING RIGHT NOW IN THE AREA.

WHEN YOU SAY ADEQUATE HOUSING, IS THAT JUST THE NUMBERS OR THE QUALITY?

I THINK IT'S BOTH.

IT'S THE NUMBERS AND ALSO THE TYPES OF HOUSING.

I MENTIONED WE DO NOT HAVE MUCH AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE AREA CURRENTLY.

I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT AND TARGETED.

IF YOU HAVE AN INFLUX OF PEOPLE FROM MANHATTAN COMING THAT HAVE HIGHER INCOMES THAN WE HAVE CURRENTLY, YOU'LL NEED PEOPLE TO PROVIDE SERVICES.

THOSE PEOPLE NEED A PLACE TO LIVE, ALSO.

IT'S GOING TO BE A BALANCING ACT IN HOW IT WILL LOOK COMMUNITY TO COMMUNITY.

IT IS INTERESTING TO SEE, AT LEAST SO FAR, HOW SOME COMMUNITIES HAVE ATTEMPTED TO HANDLE GENTRIFICATION, IT SEEMS TO HAVE HAPPENED VERY SUDDENLY AND VERY QUICKLY.

ABSOLUTELY.

IT'S VERY INTERESTING.

IF YOU GO BACK 15 YEARS AGO, THE TYPICAL PERSON COMING UP FROM THE METRO AREA WANTED A HOME WITH A FAIR AMOUNT OF ACREAGE, MIGHT HAVE WANTED TO BE IN THE WOODS, SO ON.

OUR NEW BUYERS, UP TOWN KINGSTON HAS BEEN COMPLETELY JENT FIED.

THIS IS YOUNGER PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WALK TO SERVICES, RESTAURANTS, DON'T WANT TO BE TIED TO HAVING TO MAINTAIN A LAWN AND A HOME NECESSARILY.

THEY WANT TO BE IN THE MOUNTAINS AND CATSKILLS HIKING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING, GOING TO THE FARMERS MARKET ON SATURDAYS.

THE DYNAMIC OF THE BUYER HAS CHANGED QUITE A BIT.

THAT DOES SORT OF FEED INTO WHO ARE THESE BUYERS THAT WE'RE SEEING.

SO THEN, GIVEN THE FACT THAT THAT SEEMS TO BE THE TREND RIGHT NOW.

WHAT IS THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION?

YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE'S PEOPLE STILL INTERESTED AND WANTING TO BUY REAL ESTATE EVEN WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON.

A GOOD THING THAT'S HAPPENING, PEOPLE ONLINE LOOKING, MOST ARE VERY RESPECTFUL OF THE SITUATION WE'RE IN AND DON'T WANT TO COMPLICATE THE SITUATION.

THEY'RE BEING VERY SMART ABOUT IT.

WE HAVE A LOT OF BUYERS.

WHEN THINGS OPEN UP, I THINK THERE WILL BE A LOT OF CASH BUYERS IN THIS MARKET, A LOT OF MONEY ON THE SIDELINES RIGHT NOW.

I THINK THOSE PEOPLE WILL BE COMING TO THE AREA.

IT'S GOING TO BE A PENT-UP DE DEMAND.

DOES THIS MAKE THE POTENTIAL FOR A BUYERS MARKET OR SELLER'S MARKET?

WHO'S IN CHARGE?

WE'RE IN A SELLERS MARKET RIGHT NOW, AND I THINK THAT'S GOING TO CONTINUE.

LASTLY, ARE THESE ALSO THE POTENTIAL FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS, OR WOULD THESE BE SECOND HOMES THAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR SO THAT THERE IS, AGAIN, THE OPTION SHOULD SOMETHING HAPPEN, THERE'S A POSSIBILITY, A WAY TO GET OUT OF THE CITY AND GO SOME PLACE WHERE YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET TO?

TRADITIONALLY IT'S MORE OF A SECOND HOME.

I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WORKING FROM HOME.

THIS HAS SHOWN EMPLOYERS THAT PEOPLE CAN WORK REMOTELY.

THIS MIGHT BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR COMPANIES TO ACTUALLY CUT COSTS AND STILL BE ABLE TO DO THE JOB.

I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE FULL-TIME RESIDENTS IN THE AREA.

WE WILL SEE WHAT THAT, OF COURSE, DOES TO THE TAX BASE AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

SO MANY DIFFERENT QUESTIONS TO BE WORKED OUT.

TIM, I REALLY WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME ON THE SHOW.

THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO COME ON.

I REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

ABSOLUTELY.

I'VE BEEN SPEAKING WITH TIM SWEENEY, A LICENSED REAL ESTATE BROKER AND ALSO THE PRESIDENT OF THE HUDSON VALLEY CATSKILL REGION MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III AND SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

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