One winner amid the virus and the riots... the suburban real estate market

Yes, things still look pretty bleak out there. We’ve got a highly contagious and sometimes deadly virus skulking around and it’s probably not going away any time soon. At the same time, there are riots spreading across multiple cities that, at least at times, look suspiciously like what could be interpreted as a race war. The jury is still out on the Murder Hornets, but at this rate, nobody is going to be shocked if they show up next week. But not everything is gloom and doom, citizens. There’s one group of people who are looking on the bright side and seeing their prospects improving. Those would be the owners of property in the suburbs who have been struggling to sell their homes, sometimes for years on end. But now, as terrified city-dwellers look to flee New York City and other urban centers, houses are coming off the market at an impressive clip. (NY Post)

They were the castoffs of local real estate — until coronavirus came to call.

Some houses in suburban towns and rural areas outside of New York City sat on the market for years.

But then the pandemic spurred cooped-up urbanites to run for the hills and sparked an uptick in property sales within a few-hour radius of Manhattan…

“Before the pandemic, everyone would say, ‘Hey, if I’m buying a million-dollar house, I want a new kitchen and renovated bathrooms,” says listing broker Bill Melnick of Elyse Harney Real Estate. “But now if the toilet flushes and they can move in quickly, they’re here!”

The Post features interviews with a couple of happy sellers in Connecticut. One family had been waiting for three years to find a buyer while another had put their house on the market five years ago. In March they both sold for close to the original asking price. One realtor said that the majority of “showings” were being done online these days. But in those Connecticut suburbs, the deals were still being closed, with many people purchasing homes they’d never set foot in.

Another indicator is found in the brisk business that moving companies are doing. One company called FlatRate Moving reported a nearly 75% increase in business for customers moving from New York to Connecticut between March 15 and April 28. Similar results are being seen in the suburbs of Atlanta, Chicago and (unsurprisingly) Minneapolis. People are fleeing the cities for quieter, less densely packed destinations.

Are any of us really surprised? These cities are crowded and prone to outbreaks of diseases during the best of times. COVID-19 has just ramped up the action and the death tolls. But many counties a few hours away from the Big Apple have reported fewer than 100 COVID-19 fatalities and you can still find most common household supplies on the store shelves.

Now that we have all of this racial unrest settling in on top of the pandemic, the incentives to flee are even greater. The major cities are where you’ll find the most reactive liberal elements in the largest numbers, along with higher affected minority populations. Of course, that’s where the riots are going to be the worst. You also find a lot more gun owners in the smaller, suburban enclaves because of the strict gun control laws in the major cities. That provides an additional disincentive to looting and rioting.

This may not be a temporary situation, either. As we’ve said here repeatedly, the novel coronavirus may be with us for a long time. And if not, another pandemic will be coming along sooner or later. Further, the “success” that the demonstrations and riots have achieved through the help of so many MSM enablers could well mean that we should expect more of the same in the future. It’s just possible that we’re watching the beginning of a trend where the cities shrink as those with the means to flee do so. And suburban or even rural living will likely start looking more and more appealing at the same time.

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