It’s 2024 – and it’s Time to Rethink Your “Where”

Jan 9, 2024

If the last few years have changed how you think about “home,” you’re not alone.

First, it was the pandemic, shaking up the housing market and opening the door for major moves. If we could work from anywhere, why not work – and live – in a dream location? And with that, we saw a surge in “lifestyle” moves – people heading to beachy  locations, favorite weekend getaways, or, even, more rural locations where kids (and pets!) have plenty of space to play. Anything was possible. 

Then we saw a call back to the office – even if it was just once or twice a week. While some returned to their “original” home base, others didn’t. With that, came the rise of the “super commuter.” With hybrid work arrangements becoming more and more the norm, people traveled two, three, or even five hours to get to the office. Some even hopped on a plane throughout the month, enjoying the perks of their lifestyle move while still maintaining face time in the office. 

But that was just the beginning. “People wanted more space,” explains Patti Natiss, Head of National Strategy & Emerging Markets at Suburban Jungle. “And they wanted that space to work harder. During peak COVID, we spent all of our time at home. So buyers wanted space to work, to play, to work out – because we weren’t picking up and heading to the office or the gym. Home became everything.”

Where we go from here 

Now, though, we’re through and to the other side, with our clients having had years to test-drive towns, explore their options, and decide what is most important to them, now and in the future. If you’re also considering “what next,” let’s talk. Your dedicated Suburban Jungle Strategist can help you “find your where.” In the meantime, though, consider this:

#1. People are heading to the suburbs

Many NYC “lifers” and others who stayed or kept their homes in the city during the pandemic are making moves. With high-end sales driving the NYC housing market – and seemingly endless record-high rent announcements: the median Manhattan rent was $4,400 in July, up 2.3% from the previous month and 6% year-over-year. The outer boroughs, too, have seen massive spikes, with the median Brooklyn rent hitting $3,950, up 16.2% year-over-year. In Queens, rates soared 15.7%, to $3,641 per month.

“Pair that with a rising cost of living, and it’s no surprise people are leaving the city for suburbia,” Patti says. “People are seeing that they can get city-level amenities in the suburbs – there’s incredible arts and culture, food, workout studios. Even their favorite coffee spots are opening up outposts in the suburbs.”

#2. City dwellers are coming back (and going to the ‘burbs)

This has become more and more common in the New York market. In 2023, New York topped the list in terms of population declines. New York City saw a 5% decline in residents, with many heading from the city to the suburbs.

“At the same time, we’re seeing a sort of boomerang effect with people who left the city over the last few years,” she adds. “People had to return to work, whether it was full-time or hybrid so, naturally, we’re seeing that population come back and try to find their ‘where.’”

Post-Labor Day, 58% of Manhattan office workers were back in their workplaces, compared to 49% in September 2022. At the same time, city housing prices are on the rise, pushing many return residents to explore suburbia. With that, several Westchester and New Jersey communities and Hamptons-area towns saw significant growth.

“If people can find what they want a little further out, we’re seeing more and more people willing to make the leap,” Patti says. 

#3. “Resuburbing” is rising

Eager for more space and a safe haven during the pandemic, many people left the city, and bought houses without knowing enough about the towns.

“There was some level of panic-buying,” Patti says. “People wanted to be out of the city ASAP but prices were skyrocketing and inventory was limited. We saw people buying sight unseen or ‘shopping’ Zillow.”

With housing prices on the rise, limited inventory, and increased competition during the pandemic and immediate post-pandemic period, many landed in a suburb that was more a temporary fix than anything.

Now, Patti says, those buyers are “resuburbing,” looking for a more permanent place to call “home.”

“We have several clients looking to find their fit in the new year,” she adds. “They want more than just space. They want their town and are starting to explore what’s out there. Now, though, they have an even better sense of what they’re looking for.”

The takeaway, Patti says? “This is the year to find your ‘where’ – and the possibilities are endless. Connect with your Suburban Jungle Strategist and we’ll take it from there.” 

Ready to find your “where?” Get in touch now to schedule a free Suburbs Strategy session.

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