The spread of the Coronavirus in the U.S. has not only affected businesses, but also our daily life. How big of an effect is it taking on New York City’s real estate market? You will be amazed.
New York City and The Coronavirus Pandemic
While big changes to daily life were not yet seen during the month of February, NYC saw its first COVID-19 positive case at the beginning of March. Since then, the virus has rapidly spread and the Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on March 11th by the World Health Organization.
New York’s statewide stay-at-home order went into effect 8 p.m. Sunday March 22nd. Currently there are orders for schools, gyms, theater, bars, and restaurants to be closed. Only essential businesses are instructed to stay open such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and other medical facilities. Social distance is also required with, no gatherings are allowed people are instructed to stay at least 6 feet away from other people in public places to reduce spread of the virus.
Coronavirus and NYC Real Estate Market
With the Coronavirus outbreak in the United States, cities have taken measures to stop or slow down the spread. Due to this, many businesses have taken hits as they are forced to close for take-out only, workplaces are transitioning to work from home, and people are more reluctant to go out.
The New York City real estate market is no exception. You may be thinking that the pandemic effect on real estate has no relevance to those who aren’t looking for housing, but in reality, it impacts everyone. For instance, it affects those that are out of a job and unable to pay their rent or even someone with a neighbor that is selling their apartment and wants to have open houses.
Five Ways The Coronavirus Has Already Affected NYC Real Estate:
Spring is one of the biggest seasons for apartment hunting in NYC as there are not only plenty of listings on the market, but also a lot of people looking for a new space. However, the Coronavirus has negatively impacted the market in various ways that can change how New Yorkers can and should apartment search. Here are five ways the virus has a.ready affected NYC real estate and things you, as a buyer or renter, should be aware of.
Monthly bills to pay, including rent, can be a stressful topic for most people in general, but especially so due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This is because those who are out of a job for a week or two, or even indefinitely are unable to make ends meet and pay for their essential bills. The idea of being potentially evicted means that people will be without a home during this difficult time.
Luckily, on March 13th, The Real Estate Board of New York and 29 building owners pledged to stop evictions for three months due to the virus outbreak. These building owners own more than 150,000 rental apartments in NYC and their voluntary pledge means that people do not have to worry about being without a home during this difficult time.
Even better, effective March 16th, the State of New York suspended all evictions statewide indefinitely. This includes eviction proceedings that are in progress and those that are pending. This applies to both residential and commercial evictions. This suspension is great news for all New Yorkers who have suddenly found themselves without work and not enough savings to fall back on!
New Rules for Meeting With Buyers
A few additional big changes are the added rules to open houses, when a broker meets a potential buyer. These new rules include restrictions of how often and how long these open houses occur. Some apartments even require a pre-registration to assess if they are prospective buyers or just people wanting to take a look. This way they can control the amount of people that come through the home.
Others have opted for other sanitary rules. These can include taking off shoes at the door and wearing protective booties, washing or at least sanitizing hands when entering, and no touching of any surfaces, especially hi-touch places like handles and doorknobs.
Brokers now have a new standard practice when meeting a buyer for an open house. Some of which includes making sure that the buyer is not sick, has not been out of the country, and is not bringing kids along. They also have to be sure to not only abide by the new duration limits when viewing the apartment, but also has to wipe down and sanitize anything that was touched, such as counters, floors, and even pens.
Virtual Open Houses & No Open Houses
Amidst the fears of COVID-19 in NYC, some open houses have even been banned or canceled for certain apartment buildings. Some buyers who have previously scheduled open houses have also canceled them. Other building owners have chosen to limit the amount of open houses and others are catering to virtual open houses for the buyers that prefer not to leave their home.
This is where brokers are video calling or FaceTiming potential clients to show them the space instead. Other brokers are even making detailed videos of the apartment space to send to clients who are reluctant to leave their homes or take public transportation to travel to the open house.
Less Demand For Housing
The amount of people attending open houses have significantly decreased within the month of March as the Coronavirus has become a significant worry. This is partially due to the fears of the virus itself as well as the instability Coronavirus has brought to daily life and the workplace, where many are either forced to work from home or are even out of work.
Additionally, some buyers are holding back from purchasing apartments for a different reason. Since the value of real estate has taken a hit due to the virus, some are waiting for prices to fall further and are delaying their decisions to buy.
As for the sellers of housing, since buyers are holding back from attending open houses and sometimes even buying, sellers are then reluctant to list their properties for sale. This is partly due to worries of strangers touring and entering their space as the virus can easily spread through contaminated touched surfaces.
Further, some sellers are holding back from listing their home due to fears of their market prices falling. Due to this house listings in NYC have not increased even though a hot season for real estate has already started.
Leaving The City
Some New Yorkers are even taking things further and choosing to leave the hustle and bustle of the city to quieter suburb areas. This is partially due to wanting to escape the city to more open areas as well as needing more space since children are coming back home from college. This is because universities have shut down, in-person classes were canceled, and classes have transitioned into online courses.
Many of these individuals or families are looking for more short-term rentals rather than longer year leases. Some see the less crowded suburbs as a safer alternative during this pandemic, while others believe the city is safer with their medical care infrastructure.
If you are apartment hunting despite the Coronavirus pandemic, our previous blog can help you find a home without leaving the safety of yours!
Whether you’re a seller, buyer, or just looking to keep your current apartment, stay safe, stay healthy, and remember to wash your hands.