New Jersey-bound Satya Scainetti owns a New York jewelry company. She says the pandemic has changed the West Village which she’s called home for more than 30 years.
“The city is just a changed place. It’s a little scary. I don’t feel it’s safe. A lot of desperate people walking around. Just to go out and get my groceries people are begging. Like my kids need to run around. They need to go to the park. They’re scared. They don’t even want to go out because we’ve been approached a few times by people just desperate. A lot of crazy people just walking around,” she said.
Scainetti had planned to give it another year, but now she thinks it’s time to explore the suburbs of Montclair, renting with a plan to buy.
“I also have a lot of good friends in Montclair. They are so excited and open arms. And my kids, I’m going to get them bicycles to go out and enjoy the parks there that are gorgeous,” she said.
Charlie Oppler, president-elect of the National Association of Realtors and owner of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, remarks on the trend.
“We’ve seen a lot of activity in northern New Jersey from Westfield up to Alpine and west from New York City just people who’ve said ‘I’m not going to raise my family any more in the city. I’m not going to be close to work anymore because work has shifted.’ How many people are now working at home?”
He says Scaninetti typifies a pandemic offspring, one that will propel the New Jersey real estate market to recover quicker than it did from the 2008 Great Recession because the economy knows what caused the job losses and the market to plunge.
“We’re seeing a lot of offers coming in that are close to full price or there’s a lot of demand. We had a property go for $150,000 over the asking price. The five buyers: two were from New York City, two were from Jersey City and one was from Hoboken. Now, only one could get the property, but the five offers came from heavily populated, dense communities. It tells me there’s a lot of people looking to be out in the suburbs as we know them and away from communal living,” Oppler said.
Oppler says home has taken on a whole new meaning.
“I don’t think anybody ever thought home would be where the classroom was, where the gym is, where the gourmet kitchen became. I know of companies that have told their employees to be comfortable working from home through at least through 2020 because a lot of these companies have learned to exist remotely,” he said.
Oppler predicts society will change beyond the pandemic, and New Jersey — a state considered the most densely populated in America — ironically, will reap the benefits of families escaping urban density.
“This is a thing. All the West Village moms, we’re all like OK let’s jump. It’s time. So, a few of my friends are thinking Montclair. Some in Connecticut. It’s definitely a conversation,” Scainetti said.