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Survey: Over a Million New Yorkers Plan to Move Due to the Coronavirus

Ruth Shin

Ruth Shin

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The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the lives of everyone in the United States, whether it's job or income loss, death of loved ones, illness, closure of schools and businesses, or just being shuttered indoors for weeks on end.

While headlines for a rent strike and unemployment have captured most of the attention as the immediate impact, how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the movement of people from their homes is an equally important issue as it shows how the pandemic has disrupted and changed the lives of millions of New Yorkers in the long-term.

PropertyNest conducted a survey to explore how the pandemic and issues related to the pandemic, may cause people to move from their homes in New York City.

Survey Highlights

PropertyNest asked:

"If you live in New York City, due to COVID-19 pandemic-related issues do you plan to move out of the state, the city, your borough, your current home, or have no plans to move?"

  • 86.2% of all respondents had no plans to move from their homes. While the vast majority of New Yorkers do not plan on moving, 13.8% do plan to move which translated to more than one million New York City residents, based on the last U.S. Census data.
  • Of the 13.8% who plan on moving from their current home or apartment due to the Coronavirus, 10.9% plan on making a major relocation out of New York City.
  • More women plan on staying put in their apartments or houses than men. Women made up 54.5% of respondents who had no plans to move.
  • Respondents between the ages of 55-64 made up the largest age group who planned on moving out of New York State.
  • Younger adults were more likely to move out of the city but stay within New York State because of issues related to the Coronavirus than middle-aged or older adults. Respondents aged 18-34 made up 41.9% of all responses for moving out of the city.
  • Men made up a majority of those respondents looking to move out of the city, state, borough, or just current home. Their largest margin lay with the response on those who plan on moving as far as out of their borough at 72.8%. But they also had clear leads with those who planned on moving out of the city, state, and just their apartment.
Survey: Over a Million New Yorkers Plan to Move Due to the Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and NY Pause have not just caused lost wages and death. Stay-at-home orders may create tensions within families or even roommates, not to mention also exacerbate any dissatisfaction with one's home.

Fear can also be a driving factor for residents to want to move as New York City has been the epicenter of the outbreak in the entire country with the most cases and deaths.

The city's density is a prime factor in the spread of the virus. It's also that density that limits living space for most of the city's residents, which can be difficult to tolerate when they must quarantine at home.

New York City's population according to a 2018 U.S. census is 8,398,748, which means 13.8% (the percentage of respondents who plan to move) of the city's population is over 1.15 million.

The percentage of men who plan on moving is also notable considering that one of PropertyNest's previous surveys found that women were more likely to not be able to pay rent due to Coronavirus-related income loss.

However, these may be due to reasons that have nothing to do with income loss.

Ripple Effects in the Real Estate Market

Over 1.15 million people potentially moving may sound like a positive impact and movement for New York City's real estate market.

However, over 915,000 of those residents moving are planning on moving out of the city. That could spell more trouble for the city's landlords and real estate developers who may be left with a plethora of vacant units.

Thousands of New Yorkers might also already be on the chopping block once the eviction moratorium is lifted.

Furthermore, many Airbnb hosts have lost significant business in New York due to the outbreak. Some of them might either lose their properties to foreclosures or be forced to turn them into full-term lease rentals. This means even more inventory on the market.

All in all, this could mean a million or over a million empty units on the market due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Prices may need to come down as well as the ultra-stringent application criteria that New York is famous for--documented income of 40 times greater than the monthly rent and good or great credit--if landlords are to find tenants for their units.

Survey Methodology

PropertyNest conducted an online survey among New York residents on if they planned on moving due to factors created by the Coronavirus pandemic in New York City. 1,001 respondents ages 18 and older participated with a margin of error of +/- 1.3%.

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