We love New York City so much that it’s hard to wrap our brains around the idea of so many people leaving it behind.
At first we didn’t want to believe it. But the numbers do tell a story. A recent study by Realtor.com concluded that home searches in suburban zip codes jumped 13% in May. A New York Times article sited a survey by ‘FlatRate Moving’ that showed moves from New York to Connecticut between March 15 and April 28 increased 74 percent over the same period a year ago. They said moves to Long Island jumped 48% and were up 38% in New Jersey.
Anecdotally, one of the agents on our team has a sister who sells real estate in Dutchess County, about an hour and 20 minutes north of the city. She told us that almost every day she’s getting calls on her listings from New York City area codes, something that almost never happened before quarantine. A quick Google search will reveal stories of bidding wars and homes selling for more than asking price in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
Suddenly, there is a demand for homes in the suburbs, but by most metrics, sellers have remained cautious during the pandemic, which is keeping new listing numbers low. According to the law of supply and demand, it’s an ideal situation to be in if you live in the suburbs and you were considering putting your home on the market.
So, why would a Manhattan-based real estate team shine a light on this conversation? Isn’t it bad for business when other markets outperform the one you work in? Maybe. There are two sides to this city’s real estate story; One about economic uncertainty and a glut of inventory, and another about recognizing a ‘perfect storm’ opportunity to acquire a piece of the most sought-after real estate in the history of the world.
Before we “hash-out” each of those sides, we wanted to say loudly and clearly, even prior to Covid-19, the Espinal Adler Team services Westchester County and all of the Hudson Valley. Miami too!
At this point, it would be completely fair for our readers to ask these two questions:
- Was that a shameless plug?
- Why would anyone hire a New York City real estate team to help buy or sell real estate in the suburbs?
Let’s start with the first question because it’s much easier. There’s no shame in advertising a service that you offer when you’ve put the amount of effort and energy into the real estate profession as the members of this team have. We’d be foolish not to let our readers know the extent of our geographical reach.
The answer to the second question is more complex.
Certainly, there’s a case to be made for hiring an agent who hang’s their hat in an office in the town where you live. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t attempt to state our own case.
- The Espinal Adler Team was #5 at Douglas Elliman in overall transactions in New York City last year, and we’ve sold over a billion dollars in New York City real estate over the course of the last 10 years. Why does that matter? For one, it speaks to our experience. But in this context, perhaps it’s even more important to point out that we’ve crossed paths with thousands of New York City property owners – the same people who are exiting for the suburbs and creating massive demand for your house in the burbs. They are our trusted clients and we remain in close contact with them, by phone, by email and through This forum, The Apple Peeled, which has over 17,000 subscribers. That’s direct access to a specific market of buyers that your local agent cannot offer you.
- Buying and selling real estate is a different animal in New York City compared to the suburbs. But that shouldn’t be a “knock” against our team. The biggest difference might be how closely we look at our clients’ personal financial situations; Let’s call it the co-op effect. Almost two thirds of the apartments in Manhattan are co-ops, and in the vast majority of co-op purchases a buyer has to be approved by a board before a sale can be consummated. Since the board requirements are almost always stricter than bank requirements, it forces us to do a deep dive into our clients’ finances, so they don’t waste time or money trying to purchase an apartment controlled by a board that might decline them.
You might be thinking, “I don’t need a real estate agent to dig into my finances.” Perhaps that’s true, especially if you’re not buying property in the city after you sell your house. But, what about potential buyers? What about the people who will make offers on your house? Deals fall apart all the time because of buyer’s mortgage applications fall apart when it gets scrutinized by the bank. What if you get multiple offers? Will you know how to determine which buyer poses the least amount of risk?
The Espinal Adler Team is the only team with a Mortgage Finance Director. We personally vet every pre-approval that a potential buyer comes with, a quality control checkpoint that no other team can offer.
- Even though our business cards say Madison Avenue, we are local. We’ve lived and worked in Westchester, and Putnam and Dutchess Counties for many years. We eat in the restaurants and shop for groceries in the local markets. We exercise in the parks. We have children growing up here and learning in these school systems. Our point??? There is no disconnect between our team and the towns and counties to the north.
Marie Espinal lives in Westchester County (Bedford) and the team’s Mortgage Finance Director (and licensed real estate sales agent) Matt Jablonski lives even further up in Dutchess County. The Espinal Adler Team is part of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, so, even though our focus has been in Manhattan and Brooklyn, we’re also members of the community in the suburbs north of the city.
Florida is often thought of as New York City’s sixth borough, since so many New Yorkers end up there permanently or at last spend significant time in both locations. Jeff Adler splits time between NYC and Miami, where he’s been a part-time resident since he was a child. Having a connection to both markets puts the Espinal Adler Team in great position to offer real estate guidance in both New York and in South Florida.
In closing: We’re a professionally built team. We’re experienced. We’ve negotiated toe-to-toe with the toughest real estate agents and developers in the world. We know the city and we know the suburbs and we know the people who are coming and going.
Back In the City: We said there were two sides to the story in New York City. First, the doom and gloom. It’s rough for sellers. There’s a lot of inventory and there are more people leaving the city than coming into it. The big question: Where will the buyers come from? Ironically, the doom and gloom that is driving the buyers away is the same thing that will bring back new buyers.
Do you know how much pressure there is on developers to sell their newly developed condominiums? They’re dropping their prices. They’re paying buyer’s closing costs. They’re paying HOA fees for years in advance. All of it while mortgage rates are as low as they’ve ever been!
You could buy a luxury New York City apartment in a brand-new building for a lot less than you think, with a much lower monthly payment than you might imagine, especially if common charges are covered and you find a building with a tax abatement – can you imagine?
Those scenarios actually exist. And here’s the thing… New York City real estate always, always, always bounces back. It’s only a question of when.
That’s why there will be buyers. New York has been too expensive for so many people that would otherwise love the opportunity to soak in the center of the universe. This city is a dream for so many people. But this current set of circumstances bridges the gap between a reality and a dream. Right this second, New York City real estate is less expensive and easier to obtain than at any point in recent history. It’s right in front of our eyes.
People will notice. The renters that want to own. The first-time New Yorkers. Upgraders. Investors in all shapes and sizes, both foreign and domestic. Come to think of it, the people who are selling in the suburbs might want to think about using all that extra cash on a place in the city.
Right now it’s very likely someone could sell their property in a New York City suburb for a lot more than they could have a year earlier. After the sale, if they wanted to, they could buy a brand-new apartment with every imaginable amenity, and enjoy a New York City adventure of a lifetime, even if it’s not something meant to last forever. In just a couple of years, if it’s time to move on, it’s highly likely that real estate in Manhattan and Brooklyn will have made significant gains. It would be an opportunity to buy low and sell high two times in-a-row. That seems like a reasonable plan for empty nesters.
The buyers are out there when you look hard enough, especially with conditions like this.