Houlihan Lawrence Data Confirms Dramatic Rise in NYC Residents Looking to Buy in Suburbs

Real Estate In-Depth | October 2020

One of the popular locations for New York City residents looking to relocate is the Town of Bedford in Northern Westchester County.

RYE BROOK—It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a key factor in why many New York City residents are leaving the city and heading to Westchester County and nearby Fairfield County, CT. Brokerage firm Houlihan Lawrence reports that its data suggests that premise to be true and also indicates where in the region these New York City residents are looking to purchase homes.

Houlihan Lawrence’s proprietary data indicates that 37% of its buyers in Westchester in the third quarter originated from New York City, an increase from 26% year-over-year. Year-to-date, 54% of the NYC buyers were from Manhattan, and of those, 18% hail from Brooklyn. In neighboring Putnam County, the percentage of third quarter New York City buyers rose to 33%, nearly twice as many as last year.

The most popular Westchester markets for New York City buyers are the Sound Shore (Rye, Rye Neck, Port Chester, Harrison, Mamaroneck/Larchmont) and Northern Westchester (Bedford, Armonk, Chappaqua, Pound Ridge, North Salem).

“Houlihan Lawrence has been a data-driven company for decades. As the market leader, we participate in a significant number of transactions and power our elite team of agents with the local market insights to help their clients make informed decisions,” says Liz Nunan, president & CEO of Houlihan Lawrence. “Our data can also show trends over time offering a unique predictive model of what the future may hold, based on similar market conditions.”

In Bedford, the percent of NYC buyers rose from 11% to 43%, a stunning 291% increase year-over-year. Homebuyer interest in Bedford and other Northern Westchester communities is being fueled by city buyers looking for more open space and amenities with less emphasis on proximity to New York City, brokerage officials state.

Brendon DeSimone, manager of Houlihan Lawrence’s Bedford/Pound Ridge office, said his office has seen incredible interest from New York City buyers in the past six months. “We heard many buyers say that they couldn’t imagine bringing their kids back to New York City. Here in Northern Westchester, their kids are hiking, farming, swimming in a pool or even a lake. They appreciate all that we have to offer and realize there is a desirable lifestyle outside the city,” he said.

“People can now work remotely at least half the time or more. They can commute to the city during off hours, attend a few meetings and get back home without the stress of a Monday through Friday daily commute. They like that option. It’s become the best of both worlds,” DeSimone added.

Terra Corning, manager of Houlihan Lawrence’s Larchmont office, also reports a steady influx of buyers from New York City. “The Brooklyn/Manhattan buyers have always been drawn to us. We seem to have just enough space, and yet not too much space. We are also very much a walking community which includes the neighborhood style elementary schools. And the train is never too far which is great for those optimistic about getting back into the city.”

She added that since March, New York City buyers are driving sales in the Sound Shore area. “However, the high end of the market—sales over $4 million—have largely been local trade up buyers in Larchmont. I think the New York City buyer at the higher end price range is looking for newer construction more easily found in Rye and Greenwich,” Corning noted.

Houlihan Lawrence’s proprietary data indicates the percentage of residents from New York City buying in the Greenwich, CT market rose from 19% to 34%. Darien, CT also showed a similar increase from 19% to 35%.