Hasn’t 2020 been “great”? What a year so far, right? COVID, lockdowns, riots, looting, elections, too much fun. I understand the ancient curse of “May you live in interesting times” far better now. What we could all really use is some “normalcy,” whatever that means these days. Will we get it? You tell me and we will both know.
Let’s ask a question that I can answer. Where is the rental real estate market in Westchester County headed for the balance of the year?
As of late August, a few things are coming into sharper focus. On the COVID front, we have reason to be cautiously optimistic in the theory that the worst in New York is behind us. However you measure it, cases, hospitalizations, deaths, all of those data points are headed in the right direction, down. The travel restriction into New York from “hot zone” states remains in place, but in general personal and business restrictions are easing. This is favorable for real estate for many reasons (people are less concerned about getting sick by interacting, businesses reopening is good for the economy in general, etc.).
Will the Fall and Winter see a considerable spike in New York COVID cases? My fingers are crossed, I hope yours are too. I’m going with likely not, but we shall all watch that scenario unfold together.
The economy is on the rebound locally and nationally. If we can avoid more lockdowns, the next three or more quarters will likely be robust. This is also favorable for real estate. What could derail this? More lockdowns. Turmoil over elections. More social unrest. That said, the macroeconomic outlook is rosier than not, so I’m going to ride that trend until I see evidence to the contrary.
The most significant factor affecting the real estate market in Westchester County over the next few months is likely the flight from New York City. Real estate market data from the second quarter of 2020 is in, but it must be interpreted in the context of the times. Generally, housing sales were down across the board, but prices rose. Remember, we were all locked down for most of the second quarter. Now we see a wave of rental inquiries from those fleeing NYC and from other factors. That’s the trend we should all be focusing on – rental demand in Westchester County is strong and will likely get stronger over the balance of this year.
Is residential flight from New York City a temporary blip on the long term economic radar? While this is an open question, it is more a matter of degree than the reversal of a trend. Until New York City addresses its core socio-political problems, it is unlikely to return to its pre-2020 prosperity. On August 13th, The New York Post ran a story entitled “New York’s economic outlook ranked worst in the nation.” While the authors addressed the state as a whole, they homed in on the City. Retailers are fleeing, office workers are staying home in higher numbers, and real estate prices in NYC are plummeting.
For where I sit, a couple of things are crystal clear. One, for the next year at least demand for residential rental property in Westchester County will be strong. Two, for the next year (and likely longer), the exodus from the City will continue. Despite all of the problems we are facing and the difficulties of life from March until September, I am bullish about the near and long term future of real estate in general and rental real estate in particular in Westchester County.
If you have a residential property or properties in Westchester County that you are interested in renting, now is the time to put them on the market. At Sterling Property Solutions, we have a team in place that can answer all your questions and address any challenges. If you are already a landlord and you no longer have the time or desire to handle rental property management on your own, we can help. Maybe your current property management company is not giving you the top tier service you deserve. If so, reach out, we are there for you.
Please give me a ring at 914-355-3277 or send me an email at Linda@Sterlingpsi.com. Together, let’s form a plan for you to take full advantage of the current conditions and put in place a robust, long term program for your success.