As more and more local businesses cautiously reopen, it’s becoming apparent that some lifestyle changes that began as temporary adaptations may be around for a while. One of those could impact Greenwich real estate in ways that are only gradually becoming apparent—at least that’s one conclusion Greenwich readers of last week’s Wall Street Journal would have drawn.
WSJ’s “Management and Careers” editors reported on a phenomenon that’s been developing for a while. It’s one of the dislocations caused by COVID-19, which sent large numbers of employers scrambling for ways to operate safely for clients and workers. In many cases, the solution was to ask employees to work from their homes. It was a move that may not have been entirely altruistic: The Center for the National Interest estimates that employers save $10,000 per year for each employee who works from home. To quote the Journal, “Three months into the pandemic, many workers find themselves in jobs that will let them work anywhere.” That’s the unanticipated phenomenon that prompted their headline—a question many employees have begun asking themselves: “When Workers Can Live Anywhere…Why Do I Live Here?” The answer could determine the residential choices many Americans will be making—one whose ultimate effect on Greenwich real estate is yet to be determined.
The Boston Globe offered one possibility in last week’s article, “Why a rise in telecommuting may boost vacation home sales.” Newly challenged is the automatic assumption that high-paying jobs require residing in or near big cities. As teleconferencing becomes an established modus operandi, one effect on real estate could be a movement to outlying areas—including vacation home localities. The Globe reports that more than one in four Boston employees now anticipate telecommuting—and perhaps a move to “rural or exurban communities.”
The Journal further found that many “newly remote workers” have begun chasing opportunities in states they hadn’t previously considered viable. “All told,” it reported, “at one point in April, Americans were relocating at twice the pace they did a year earlier.”
As the Fordham Observer wrote, no one “can pretend to predict how the coronavirus crisis will end and when its long-term effects will be fully realized.” Over the past three months, our team has been flat out working with new buyers hailing from Boston and New York City. These buyers have either sped up their timetables on an eventual move to the suburbs, recognized that the city they love will not be that same city for a very long time, or in the pandemic exodus to communities like Greenwich, New Canaan and the Berkshires, have realized that they can have an improved quality of life. Buyers have been more than pleasantly surprised to discover that the outdoors can be part of their everyday life, and that interesting people, great dining and shopping, and cultural activities are not proprietary to big city life.
Our team encourages people to have the mindset of buying both community and property. If you are rethinking what your work life, geographically, might look like, be sure to consider both and if those thoughts include Lower Fairfield County, Upper Westchester or the Berkshires in Massachussetts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Photo: Just 2.5 hours from New York City and Boston, Ethelwynde would be an inspiring location to live and work from. Over 11,000 square feet with a library/office having rare Purpleheart wood from the Amazon rainforest and plenty of other spaces to perch with your computer, most with views of two mountain ranges. The mid century guest house is a short walk from the main estate and perfect for staffing or as a more private home office. 31 acres. We are thrilled to represent this special property for $5,900,000.