Former urban dwellers who swapped the city center for smaller towns and suburbs during the COVID-19 pandemic are showing signs that they intend to stay put, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Many of them are opening up shops and other small businesses like rental offices at their new locations, which is a sure signal that they’re staying for the duration.
“These transplants… are eager to recreate their old businesses or try new ones,” the Journal reported.
Real estate professionals report that they’re seeing offices spaces and other commercial properties sell or rent more quickly in smaller towns and suburban areas. Raj Kumar of Select Sotheby’s International Realty in Saratoga Springs, New York, told the Journal that people with much higher incomes are moving into the area. He said that commercial real estate sales in Columbia, Greene and Dutchess counties are four-times higher than they were one year ago.
Andrea Westerlind, who previously owned a home and ran an apparel store in New York City, told the Journal that she has reopened her business in Millerton, N.Y., after buying a two-story retail building there shortly after she bought a home in the area.
“There’s amazing energy up here, and there are so many young people,” she told the Journal. “In six months, I will have done more retail sales than I would normally do in a whole year in two locations in the city.”
Westerlind is one of many former New York City residents who have moved to smaller locales due to the pandemic and since decided that they’re going to stay put. But one thing that they didn’t leave behind is their entrepreneurial spirit, and they’re looking to reopen their former businesses or start new ones.
“Most of them have bought houses and now are looking, going ‘OK, if I can work here and put my children into school here, what else?’” said Elyse Harney Morris of Elyse Harney Real Estate, which operates in Litchfield County and parts of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. “With more people up here full-time, we need more amenities, more office space.”