While observing national housing trends, we have recently found wealthy Americans and anyone else who has the economic mobility are selling real estate in big cities and have fled to rural communities amid fresh concerns of the second coronavirus wave and ongoing social unrest.
We've documented this phenomenon, in several pieces, is happening across several major metropolitan areas:
Real Estate agents told The Wall Street Journal that people are leaving New York City for rural communities and small towns, such as places in Hudson Valley to southeast Connecticut, due to virus concerns. The Journal did not touch on riots that plague the city, and we're assuming that was a compounding factor of why people are fleeing.
Living in a high-rise or cramped apartment in Lower Manhattan must have been mentally draining for folks with several months of confinement due to strict lockdowns to mitigate the virus spread.
In the early days of the lockdowns (mid/late March), urbanites fled to suburbs around New York City, looking for rentals to temporarily escape city-wide lockdowns. Now the stay is becoming more permeant as their taste for land, fresh air, and peace of mind outweighs the dumpster fire unfolding in the city.
Not just agents, but homebuilders in rural communities, such as Wurtsboro, New York, have reported a jump in activity thanks to urbanites leaving the city.
Catskill Farms Inc.'s owner Chuck Petersheim said preconstruction sales are booming, and inquires are rising since the pandemic.
"People who are now in the Hudson Valley looking for homes, many of them have never been to the Hudson Valley before," Petersheim said. "That's new to the marketplace, that urgency."
Doug and Ariah Tough, who live in Manhattan with their two daughters, said they're now shopping for a home outside the city.
"This was something that we wanted to do anyway," Ariah said. "But this added a little bit of fuel to the fire."
Manhattan real-estate data firm UrbanDigs Analytics LLC said demand for homes in rural communities around New York City surged in the March through May period compared with the same period last year. Demand was unchanged in Manhattan at the same time, UrbanDigs said.
"Suddenly there are a lot more people looking to buy than are asking to sell compared to the same time a year ago" in Greenwich, Conn., New York's Westchester County and New Jersey's Monmouth and Bergen counties, said John Walkup, UrbanDigs's co-founder and coo.
Skylar Olsen, a senior principal economist at Zillow, said if working from home persists --national housing trends could shift folks out of city centers to rural areas.
The Journal made a note, "there is no evidence so far of a large-scale exodus from the city. "
Couple pandemic fears and continuing social unrest across the country -- the trend is clear -- smart money is beginning to abandon large cities for rural communities.