Fleeing to the ‘burbs

Pandemic pushing people north from NYC

Posted 9/9/20

The Newburgh area has welcomed a number of newcomers in the past couple of months due to those fleeing New York City in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Local realtors Sarah Beckham …

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Fleeing to the ‘burbs

Pandemic pushing people north from NYC


The Newburgh area has welcomed a number of newcomers in the past couple of months due to those fleeing New York City in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Local realtors Sarah Beckham Hooff, from ReAttached Real Estate, and Dan Gilbert, from Fidelity Real Estate, have seen the migration from New York City to Newburgh themselves.

Both Beckham Hooff and Gilbert explained how Newburgh has seen a rise in newcomers over the past years, but it has greatly spiked in the summer months.

“Since the pandemic happened and people were cut free from their offices, it accelerated a trend that started several years ago,” said Gilbert. “So many of the abandoned buildings in Newburgh are being renovated and are being brought back online.”

Gilbert called it a “perfect storm,” between the COVID-19 pandemic pushing people out of New York City and the already happening redevelopment of the Newburgh area.

Gilbert originally began noticing a trend in people moving to the Newburgh area around 2012.

“July and August have been crazy,” said Beckham Hooff. “We get three or four showings and then there is an accepted offer, sometimes above asking price, within a week.”

Many people are looking to escape the crowded city and find more space for themselves, especially out of concern of another potential lockdown in the upcoming months.

Beckham Hooff said she has seen interest both with new homeowner and new renter interest.

“In the Newburgh market there has been a big uptick in people looking to rent,” said Beckham Hooff. “They’re trying it out.”

Some renters have the mindset of “maybe I’ll be working from home for the next year but then have to go back to New York City,” according to Beckham Hooff.

Newburgh has seemed to be the “perfect middle” for those relocating from the city because of its reasonable prices compared to other areas and its proximity to New York City. Although, nearby areas like Beacon, Kingston and New Paltz are also seeing an uptick in new residents.

“If people have to commute occasionally, they still can,” said Gilbert. “Even though you’re coming to a place that’s a little less developed, it’s still worth it.”

Iain Cameron and partner Lorelei Stevens have recently settled into their new home on Leslie Road in Newburgh.

“If this thing is going to go on, and we think it is, we want some space if we need to isolate ourselves from other people,” said Stevens. “It wasn’t a fear of the disease so much as a need to have space to cope with it.”

They moved from Staten Island and are both retired.

“We started the search about five months ago looking for property that was outside of New York,” said Cameron. “We didn’t want to be more than an hour and a half away from Manhattan.”

Cameron and Stevens looked at around 40 to 60 houses, starting with a list of around 100 on Zillow, for the perfect location in the suburbs of Manhattan.

“Our list was: old house, quirky, pond, swimming pool, stream, woods – and we ended up here, with all of it,” said Cameron.

They moved in mid-August and paid full price for the home. The house is 2,500 square feet, twice the size of their prior home.

There were several other offers on the property. Quickly they made their own offer, which was accepted.

However, the day they were there with the home inspector the seller explained they just received another offer for $10,000 more.

“We were getting a lot of information from our realtor Dana Goldberg [from Houlihan Lawrence] about how people are getting 60 or 70 offers on one property,” explained Cameron.

Cameron and Stevens were able to hold down the offer and make it officially theirs and are enjoying their new space.

Beckham Hooff and Gilbert are continuing to keep up with the high demand for the area, where they often see a number of offers come in for each listing.

“People are inspired to have the space to do what they love,” explained Beckham Hooff.

According to Beckham Hooff, people have been interested in mixed-use properties where there is an “extra bonus space” on the bottom for an office or small shop and then they can live above it.

More recently, ReAttached Real Estate listed a three-unit Victorian home located at 4 Grand Street for $650,000 that has already been found by those looking to relocate.

“It’s the type of building that draws people from New York City,” said Sarah Beckham Hooff. “It has been on the market since September 2, and we expect to receive multiple offers at and around asking price, and the sellers plan to wait a little while to allow for more and more attractive offers to come in.”

Gilbert echoed the same thing. “I’m working with one family right now and we’ve gone to 15 showings already,” said Gilbert. “Each house there’s multiple offers within days. It’s a very competitive market and it’s hard for people to find something. There’s more demand than supply in the area right now.”

Cameron’s realtor Goldberg said the same thing, “she said when we closed here, ‘I don’t have enough inventory and so many people are calling me.’”

Since March, Fidelity Real Estate has rented around 15 apartments a month.

Gilbert expects a lot of the empty parcels in Newburgh to be filled up within a few years, especially with the ongoing redevelopment.

“The landscape is definitely changing here,” said Gilbert.

Currently there is a freeze on evictions in New York, which ensures newcomers are not pushing residents out of their homes. Newburgh residents have been wary about gentrification in the area.

“We’re in a situation where if you want to move up the building needs to be vacant now, or you have to wait,” explained Beckham Hooff. “It’s shaping the landscape. There are a lot of people living very much on the edge right now. We need to be sensitive to our community.”

Recent newcomers Cameron and Stevens plan to put money into Newburgh by using local services.

“I think there is a certain animosity towards New Yorkers moving out of New York to here,” said Cameron.

Cameron explained his want to use local services for pool maintenance, lawn maintenance heating, house cleaning, repairs and more. He said he “is quite willing to pay.”

Additionally, Beckham Hoooff has seen a change from investor interest to homeowner interest.

“When you have a neighbor who actually lives there, they’re going to take care of the building and be there with more eyes on it,” she explained.

Depending on how COVID-19 progresses, it is uncertain whether or not more people will relocate from New York City to Newburgh as we head into the fall and winter months.


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