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Mayor Bill De Blasio, Moving Companies Weigh In On NYC Real Estate Debate: How Many People Are Leaving The City?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It's the great real estate debate right now -- are people fleeing the city in big numbers like we thought?

CBS2's Alice Gainer talked with two big moving companies to find out.

Workers at the U-Haul on 23rd Street say the weekends have been packed with people moving out of the city.

RELATED STORY -- New Yorkers Have Message For Those Leaving, Saying City Is Dead: We'll Fix It And Then We'll Welcome You Back

One couple Wednesday say they however are moving within the city. Right now, it's hard to get exact numbers in terms of who's moved permanently and temporarily.

"I definitely see a ton of people moving out of the city. It's just unbelievable," said Raz Itzhaki, the CEO of Shleppers Moving and Storage.

Itzhaki is also seeing people moving within the city and taking advantage of deals. Either way, they can't keep up with the demand. He says under normal circumstances they move about 45 people per day.

"Right now it's 60, and it's 60 because we can't do more than 60," said Itzhaki.

FlatRate Moving is also seeing an increase.

"Maybe about 20 percent of the moves that we did on a local level would leave New York City. This year, it's more like 50 percent," said David Giampietro, Chief Administrative Officer at FlatRate Moving.

But Giampietro adds that people are still moving into the city.

"We haven't seen that big of a drop for people moving into the city," said Giampietro. "Typically people are moving into the city for new jobs and a lot of those are tech companies."

Both companies note an increase in storage demand too. They're people who may just be out of the city temporarily, but are planning to come back.

RELATED STORY -- Report: Rents Down Across New York City, Tens Of Thousands Of Units Available

To rent a U-Haul to move to Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, it costs nearly $2,000. But the reverse from North Carolina to New York City is just $460. U-Haul says greater demand dictates the price, but the company could not share past rates to compare to the previous years.

The company also found that in 2019 more people were moving to North Carolina in general.

"Thirty-five percent of buyers have changed their home features that they're looking for," said Dr. Jessica Lautz, from the National Association of Realtors.

Dr. Lautz is the Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of Realtors and says more space for a home office and yard is tops.

"There's always going to be this demand for dynamic city centers, but I think in a temporary space right now, we are seeing people looking toward larger homes," said Dr. Lautz.

But she says with low interest rates, now may be the time to buy in the city. When asked about how people may effect the Census and representation, Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted plenty are staying put.

"I will guarantee you that we've got 8 million-plus people who are not going anywhere," he said.

The mayor could not provide exact numbers, however.

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