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Coronavirus Pandemic Sparks Real Estate 'Frenzy' In Suburbs

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- As many city dwellers ride out the coronavirus pandemic in their apartments, there's a sudden rush on real estate in the suburbs.

"I would describe it as nothing short of a frenzy," said Alison Farn-Leigh, a sales agent with Berkshire Hathaway.

Interest in buying or renting a home in the 'burbs went from zero to crazy in just a few weeks, Farn-Leigh told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock.

A young family from the city placed the winning bid for a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. Another home rented in just one day.


"I get a lot of, 'In one to two years, we knew we were going to do this, but now, we have to do it now,'" Farn-Leigh said.

The urgency for some is because of concerns over the coronavirus. It's not just the fear of falling ill, but for some, to secure financial futures.

"Because of corona and everyone was losing their jobs and employees on furlough, we just had to make the move quickly before anything would happen," said Stephanie Roberts.

Stephanie and Chavain Roberts pushed up their move from Old Mill Basin in Brooklyn to Union, New Jersey, where they could spend less and get more peace of mind.

"A new environment and it's not so populated," Stephanie Roberts said.

"We were concerned that with the pandemic, that everyone would kind of stay in place," said Adam Pasternack, president of Russo Property Management. "In the last couple of weeks, we've found real good success."

The luxury rental market in northern New Jersey has thawed, Pasternack says.

"In this past weekend, we did seven new leases," he said.

Those are pre-pandemic numbers.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

According to, compared to March 15 through May 10 of last year, requests for moves within New York City dropped 30%. Meanwhile, moves from the city to Connecticut are up 80%, to Long Island up nearly 60%, to New Jersey up nearly 43%, and to Westchester up 33%.

Farn-Leigh says buyers used to list a home office as "nice to have," now it's a "must have."

Outdoor space is another "must have," and a pool is a major perk.

Buyers looking in the suburbs, be prepared for bidding wars and the possibility your realtor will want you to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement, which protects the realtor if a prospective buyer contracts COVID-19 through an in-person showing.

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