The people leaving New York are disproportionately older, richer, more established professionals — people who need the city less.
With property taxes still rising, most residential landlords will not be able to keep their properties empty while waiting for rents to rebound. So they will rent them out at much lower market-clearing rates, to less wealthy individuals who require less space per person.
The math: If residential space stays constant but the number of square feet per person goes up, New York’s population will end up rising, rather than falling.
Lower rents also mean higher disposable incomes, to be spent at new local establishments that will rise where old ones were felled by the pandemic. The newer businesses will also be much less likely to cater to the rich elites.