MetroFocus: April 30, 2020

Since the coronavirus epidemic closed the city for business, subway ridership has dropped 90 percent, starving the MTA of critical revenue… and the problems go way beyond the financial. Jose Martinez, transit reporter for The City, joins us to talk about the massive challenges facing public transit in the months and years ahead.

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

> UP NEXT, 'METROFOCUS.'

WE'RE WORKING FROM HOME BUT WE'RE DEDICATED TO BRINGING YOU THE IMPORTANT STORIES ABOUT HOW OUR AREA IS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS.

♪ ♪ THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III AND SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

ROSS P. WALTER, BASH RO HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

THE METRO SYSTEM IS FACING AN EXIST SENL CRISIS, FIRST AND FOREMOST A FINANCIAL ONE.

BUT IN THE AGE OF THE PANDEMIC IT'S INCREASINGLY ABOUT HEALTH AND SAFETY.

AS OFFICIALS LOOK TOWARDS REOPENING THE CITY, WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN THE ERA OF SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND WILL WALKING AND BICYCLING PLAY A LARGER ROLE FOR NEW YORKERS.

JOINING US TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS IS JOSE MARTINEZ, TRANSPORTATION REPORTER FOR THE DIGITAL OUTLET 'THE CITY.'

THANK YOU VERY MUCH SO FOR JOINING US.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME.

THE PLEASURE IS ALL MINE.

LET'S START WITH THIS, THE CALAMITOUS FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE MTA.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT?

IT'S DARK AND IT'S UGLY AND THERE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT OF POTHOLES AHEAD, NOT TO MIX MY TRANSIT METAPHORS WITH MY DRIVING METAPHORS.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AN AGENCY THAT IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE CITY'S ECONOMY, REALLY THE REGION'S ECONOMY.

YOU LOOK AT ITS BUDGET.

IT'S GOING TO TAKE AN' NOR MUSS HIT FROM THE LOSS OF RIDERSHIP.

AT THIS POINT IT'S MORE THAN 90% DECREASE IN FARE BOX REVENUE.

FEWER PEOPLE ARE DRIVING INTO THE CITY.

THAT MONEY IS NO LONGER THERE.

SO WHAT'S HAPPENING IS THAT THE MTA IS SEEKING A SECOND ROUND OF EMERGENCY FEDERAL FUNDING.

THIS WILL ALLOW THE MTA TO MAKE UP SOME GROUND, BUT THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT THE AGENCY IS GOING TO TAKE A TREMENDOUS HIT, IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO BORROW MORE MONEY ON TOP OF WHAT IT'S ALREADY BORROWED.

BEYOND THAT, THE FIVE-YEAR CAPITAL PROGRAM SO IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF THE MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM, THAT'S IN QUESTION NOW, TOO.

IT WAS A $51 BILLION PROGRAM THAT WAS GOING TO GIVE US THE SECOND PHASE OF THE SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY, GOING TO GIVE US NEW SIGNALS ON SIX DIFFERENT SUBWAY LINES, STRETCHES OF SIX SUBWAY LINES.

IT WAS GOING TO GIVE US THOUSANDS OF NEW SUBWAY CARS AND BUSES.

A GOOD PART OF THIS WILL STILL HAPPEN NO DOUBT.

BUT A LOT OF IT WILL HAVE TO BE RECONFIGURED.

THAT'S VERY MUCH IN QUESTION AT THIS FOINT, RAFAEL.

THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

I MOVED TO NEW YORK CITY IN 1979 WHERE THE SUBWAY WAS LITERALLY FALLING TO PIECES, AND THE REASON IT WAS FALLING TO PIECES WAS BECAUSE THE CITY AND THE STATE HAD POSTPONED MAINTENANCE FOR SO MANY YEARS.

IT WAS AWFUL.

ARE YOU SAYING WE'RE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE THE SAME KIND OF THING?

WELL, THAT WAS A LOT OF NEGLECT OVER MANY, MANY YEARS BACK IN THE 1970s AND 1980s.

AT THAT POINT YOU HAD THE CAPITAL PROGRAM COME INTO BEING.

THAT LED THE WAY TO SOMETHING OF A RENAISSANCE WHICH WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST FEW DECADES IN NEW YORK.

NOW THINGS REGRESSED A LITTLE BIT.

WHAT YOU DON'T WANT IS FOR THE SYSTEM TO GO BACKWARDS.

AT THIS POINT DURING THE PANDEMIC, THE SYSTEM HAS BEEN RATTLED BY A LOSS OF RIDERSHIP.

IT'S BEEN HIT WITH AN INCREASE IN CRIMES.

I WROTE A STORY ON THE CITY'S WEBSITE ABOUT THE INCREASE IN ROBBERIES, ABOUT THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF UNRULY PERSON REPORTS.

AND WE'LL GET TO ALL THAT.

I WANT TO GET TO ALL THAT.

BUT I WANT TO NAIL DOWN THIS FINANCIAL SITUATION.

YOU SAID WE'RE ABOUT TO GO -- THE CITY IS ASKING FOR A SECOND ROUND OF MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ABOUT $4 BILLION.

THEY ALREADY GOT $4 BILLION.

IF IT GETS IT, AS MOST PEOPLE THINK IT WILL, THAT'S $8 BILLION.

THAT'S NOT SUFFICIENT TO REVIVE --

THERE WAS THAT FIRST ROUND OF FUNDING BACK IN MARCH.

IT SEEMS DOWNRIGHT QUAINT THAT THEY GOT $4 BILLION AT THE TIME.

SOME OF THE TRANSIT ADVOCATES SAID THAT'S NOT ENOUGH.

YOU'RE GOING TO NEED MORE.

THAT IS, IN FACT, WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

THE MTA HAS REQUESTED OF THE DELEGATION THAT REPRESENTS NEW YORK AND ALSO WITH TRANSIT AGENCIES FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY FOR MORE SUPPORT.

LISTEN, THE SUBWAY SYSTEM, BUS SYSTEM, TRANSIT SYSTEM HERE IS TOO IMPORTANT TO HAVE IT GO DOWN.

ANYONE LIKE YOURSELF AROUND SINCE THE 1970s AND '80s KNOWS YOU CAN'T HAVE A TRANSIT SYSTEM THAT FALLS IN DISREPAIR.

THAT'S GOING TO BE A REALLY IMPORTANT THING FOR THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP OF THIS STATE AND THE AGENCY LEADERSHIP AT THE MTA TO FOCUS ON TO SELL TO THE ELECTED OFFICIALS, THIS IS TOO IMPORTANT, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT GO ANYMORE BACKWARDS MORE THAN IT HAS IN THIS PANDEMIC.

I COMPARED IT TO WHAT THE SUBWAY SYSTEM OR PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM WAS LIKE IN THE '70s, BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE SAYING IT OOELGS GOING TO BE WORK BECAUSE, OF COURSE, THIS NOT JUST A FINANCIAL PROBLEM.

IT'S ALSO A HEALTH PROBLEM.

IN FACT, AS YOU KNOW, THERE HAVE BEEN -- THERE'S BEEN AT LEAST ONE REPORT THAT SAYS IT'S THE SUBWAY SYSTEM ITSELF THAT HAS SEEDED THE CORONAVIRUS ALL ACROSS THE BOROUGH.

THAT IT IS, TO QUOTE THE PHRASE, THE FUSE THAT LIT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IN THE CITY.

FIRST OF ALL, DO YOU THINK THAT'S ACCURATE?

WELL, THAT REPORT WHICH WAS BY A DOCTOR OUT OF HARVARD, HE WAS CRITICIZED HEAVILY.

THE PAPER HAD NOT BEEN PEER REVIEWED.

HE PUSHED BACK -- THE MTA PUSHED BACK HEAVILY AND THE DOCTOR THEN PUSHED BACK AND SAID, NO, LISTEN, YOUR SUBWAY SYSTEM IN SOMEWHAT SEEDED THE SPREAD OF THIS THING.

IT'S NOT FOR ME TO SAY.

I'M NOT A DOCTOR, AND THAT'S A GOOD THING.

IT IS CERTAINLY A VALID POINT, YOU CONSIDER HOW WE WERE BEFORE THIS.

ALL THOSE PEOPLE IN TIGHT SPACES, ON PACKED SUBWAY CARS, ON SUBWAY PLATFORMS.

THEN YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBERS OF THE MTA EMPLOYEES AFFECTED BY THIS, AND IT DOES AT LEAST, AS THE DOCTOR DID, RAISE QUESTIONS.

OVER 80 MTA WORK VERSE DIED OF THE CORONAVIRUS, CORRECT?

AT THIS POINT, YES.

84.

84, AND THOUSANDS GOT SICK, THOUSANDS IN QUARANTINE.

IT'S A SERIOUS BUSINESS.

SO, AS YOU SAID EARLIER, THERE IS NO OPENING UP THE CITY WITHOUT OPENING UP THE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, PARTICULARLY THE SUBWAY SYSTEM.

NEVERTHELESS, AS YOU ALSO SAY, WHETHER IT SEEDED THE CORONAVIRUS OR NOT, IT'S A PETRI DISH WHERE IT GROWS AND SPREADS.

GIVEN THAT, WHAT ARE THE PLANS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE SUBWAY SYSTEM IS CLEAN ENOUGH SO THAT WE CAN OPEN UP THE CITY WITH ITS USE?

WELL, THE MTA DURING THIS TIME STARTING IN EARLY MARCH ACCELERATED AND BEEFED UP ITS CLEANING OF SUBWAY CARS, OF BUSES, OF STATION, OF EMPLOYEE SPACES.

THEY'VE NOW -- THEY'RE GETTING PRESSURE FROM THE GOVERNOR TO CLEAN EVEN MORE.

I WROTE A STORY A FEW WEEKS BACK ABOUT HOW THE MTA IS COMMITTED TO SPENDING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS MORE JUST FOR THIS YEAR AND THEN GOING INTO THE FUTURE FOR CLEANING.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SYSTEM WHERE PEOPLE FINAL CONFIDENT ENTERING IT, RIGHT?

WE'VE SEEN RIDERSHIP FALL SO FAR, SO DEEPLY, AND YOU WANT TO BRING BACK SOME OF THAT RIDERSHIP, BUT IT'S GOING TO TAKE A LOT TO CLEAN EVERY PART OF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT TRANSIT UNITS AROUND THE WORLD ARE GOING TO HAVE TO CONTEND WITH BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT TO A LOT OF CITIES, A LOT OF AREAS AROUND THE WORLD.

AND CERTAINLY IN NEW YORK, IN A PLACE WHERE MANY PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE CARS, WHERE PEOPLE RELY ON TRANSIT AS THEIR WAY AROUND, AND IT IS THE MOST POPULAR WAY TO GET AROUND, IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE A BIG, BIG EFFORT GOING INTO THE FUTURE FOR THE MTA.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROBLEM THAT HAS BECOME EXTREMELY EVIDENT LATELY, WHICH IS THE PROBLEM OF HOMELESS PEOPLE SHELTERING FROM COVID-19 WITHIN THE SUBWAY SYSTEM BECAUSE THE SHELTERS THEMSELVES, MANY OF THEM HAVE BECOME HOT SPOTS OF THE CORONAVIRUS.

THEY HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO GO, SO THEY'RE GOING TO THE SUBWAYS.

BOTH THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE MTA, THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT SYSTEM AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE TRANSIT UNION HAVE ALL POINTED THE FINGER AT MAYOR DeBLASIO AND HIS ADMINISTRATION SAYING THE HOMELESS PROBLEM IN THE CITY IS THE FAULT OF THE MAYOR AND HIS ADMINISTRATION.

IS THAT FAIR, AND IS THAT RIGHT?

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN BREWING FOR A LONG TIME.

FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW YOU'VE SEEN THE STATIONS AND THE TRAINS INCREASINGLY USED AS SHELTER FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE IN THE SHELTER SYSTEM, AND THAT'S BECAUSE -- I'VE SPOKEN WITH SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON BENCHES, WHO LIVE ON TRAINS ABOUT THIS.

THEY DON'T WANT TO GO THERE BECAUSE THEY DON'T FEEL SAFE THERE.

SO THAT DOES POINT TO A LACK OF RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE WHO CERTAINLY NEED THEM.

AND WHEN THAT HAPPENS, THEY GO TO A PLACE WHERE THEY FEEL SOMEWHAT MORE SECURE.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE SUBWAY SYSTEM.

THERE ARE PEOPLE ON THE BENCHES.

OF COURSE, THAT'S NOT THE CASE NOW.

BUT THAT IS WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE BUILD-UP TO THIS OUTBREAK.

YOU HAD SEEN IT IN RECENT MONTHS.

I DID A STORY BACK IN SEPTEMBER ABOUT HOW THERE WERE MANY MORE SOILED CARS, AND THAT REALLY HAD TO DO WITH PEOPLE WHO WERE USING THE SUBWAY CARS AND TRAINS AS NOT ONLY PLACES TO SLEEP, BUT AS PLACES TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.

IT'S A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

IT'S SAD, BUT NOW IT'S BROKE UNDOWN INTO A LOT OF BACK-AND-FORTH BETWEEN CITY HALL, THE MTA AND THE GOVERNOR.

THE MAYOR ANNOUNCED HE'S TAKEN SOME STEPS.

WHAT ARE THOSE STEPS?

THE MAYOR INITIALLY SAID HE WANTED THE MTA, WHICH HE DOES NOT CONTROL, NOT HIS AUTHORITY, BUT HE WANTED THE MTA TO CLOSE FROM MIDNIGHT TO 5:00 A.M. TEN TERMINALS.

THOSE ARE THE END-OF-LINE STATIONS SO THE MTA COULD DO SOME HEAVY CLEANING.

NOW WHAT YOU'RE SEEING IS THE NYPD GOING INTO THE SYSTEM A BIT MORE, TRYING TO GET SOME OF THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE USING THE SYSTEM NOW A SHELTER.

WEEKS AGO -- I'M TALKING SIX WEEKS AGO, SEVEN WEEKS AGO, I HAD PEOPLE -- SOURCES AT THE MTA SAY TO ME, LOOK, THIS IS WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

IT'S NOW GOING TO BECOME A ROLLING SHELTER, IF YOU WILL, FOR PEOPLE.

AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

THE REPORTS OUT OF THERE ARE TROUBLING.

THEY'RE VERY SAD.

BUT CLEARLY SOMETHING MUST BE DONE TO MAKE THE SYSTEM AMENABLE FOR WHEN PEOPLE EVENTUALLY START RETURNING TO IT.

ALL RIGHT, WE HAVE ONLY ABOUT AN HOUR -- I MEAN A MINUTE LEFT.

AN HOUR?

I COULD TALK TO YOU ALL DAY.

WE COULD TALK FOR AN HOUR.

IT APPEARS THE MAYOR HAS REVERSED POSITIONS ON ANOTHER ISSUE.

AT FIRST HE SAID HE DIDN'T WANT THE STREETS OPEN FOR PEDESTRIANS AND CYCLISTS, BICYCLISTS AS THE CITY COUNCIL WANTED, AS THE GOVERNOR WANTED.

HE'S CHANGED HIS MIND.

HE'S SAYING HE WANTS UP TO 100 -- IS IT 100 MILES OF PUBLIC STREETS OPEN.

TELL US -- THAT MAKES SENSE GIVEN THE FACT WE NEED SPACE TO DISTANCE OURSELVES AS SPRING AND SUMMER COME.

WHY WAS HE AGAINST IT IN THE BEGINNING AND WHAT IS IT GOING TO LOOK LIKE NOW?

WHAT HE SAID INITIALLY WAS THAT HE WOULDN'T WANT TO PUT POLICE RESOURCES INTO KEEPING THESE AREAS SECURE, LIMITING THE ACCESS TO THESE AREAS JUST SO THAT PEOPLE CAN GO THERE AND WALK AROUND AND DO SO IN A MANNER THAT IS SOCIALLY DISTANT.

HE TOOK A LOT OF HEAT FOR THAT.

AS A RESULT THE MAYOR THEN REVERSED COURSE.

NOW WE'RE GOING TO SEE A LOT MORE -- I BELIEVE IT IS 100 MILES OF SPACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY, GIVING PEOPLE ROOM TO GET OUTSIDE, SPREAD THEIR WINGS AND GET SOME FRESH AIR.

WE'RE GOING TO NEED THAT.

IT'S GOING TO BE MOSTLY -- WE'RE OUT OF TIME.

MOSTLY AROUND THE PARKS, CORRECT, IN FIVE SECONDS?

WE'RE OUT OF TOWN.

I'VE GOT SO MANY QUESTIONS.

JOSE, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK BECAUSE THIS STORY IS NOT GOING TO STOP.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

> 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.

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