Over the course of the past year, more residents and businesses have relocated from New York City than any other city in the United States. During the pandemic, close quarters and the spike in positive cases and fatalities terrified New Yorkers. Many were forced to work remotely and realized there was no point staying in the city where the risk of exposure was high when they could, in fact, work remotely from anywhere. Most of the relocators stayed in the state of New York, many migrating north to more suburban and rural areas upstate. To date, up to 70% of workers continue to work remotely, a trend that is likely to continue.
Even beyond the pandemic situation, remote working allows employees to avoid the commute and save a lot of money on the high living costs of the city.
With most of its employees fleeing the city, businesses were compelled to do the same. Remaining confined in an area where operating hours were limited, if open at all, has been costly for many business owners.
According to USPS information, 16 million people relocated during the coronavirus pandemic. Even temporary address changes saw an uptick of 27% over the previous year. During the first six months of the pandemic, temporary changes spiked, primarily due to people relocating to quarantine. Many city residents rented homes in the Hamptons for quiet refuge to ride out the pandemic. But as the pandemic carried on long past anyone’s expectations, more and more people realized city living was unsustainable.
Migration out of large cities has been on the rise since before the pandemic. Rising costs of living and increasing local taxes make it difficult for residences to pay their monthly bills. While Manhattan topped the list in 2020 for the most moved from city, Brooklyn was right behind it.
Renters, homeowners, and businesses are all thinking beyond the current health crisis to long-term solutions. Having operated with video conferencing and cloud-based software, many have become acclimated to long distance working and can save money on the exorbitant costs of operating in the city. Clients have come to accept video meetings as the norm, saving money on travel and fancy office accommodations.
People who chose to live in the city did so for the convenience and proximity to culture, activities, restaurants, shopping and more. With everything closed, all the allure of the city is gone, and the high prices paid to live there are no longer justified.
Some businesses shuttered due to the nature of their business; many restaurants could not afford to stay open without indoor dining. And for some, the social distancing requirements made profitability impossible. So, many moves were closures, unfortunately. But eventually these vacancies will attract new businesses as the city rebounds from the crisis. New York has seen many tragedies over the decades and has always persevered.