Key Highlights

  • Migration of US residents from large cities to spacious properties in less dense cities has been ongoing for long time
  • According to Jonathan Woloshin, head of US Real Estate, Global Wealth Management at Chief Investment Office at UBS, five biggest states lost domestic population from 2010 to 2018

Last week, Mansion Global hosted its first annual Luxury Real Estate Conference in New York. One of the key topics discussed during this conference was the global shift of buyers looking to move from major city centers to smaller population centers that allow for larger properties and more space since the COVID outbreak in March.

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Jonathan Woloshin, head of US Real Estate with Global Wealth Management at Chief Investment Office at UBS, was one of many during this conference who said, to the effect, “A lot of people have attributed the migratory patterns (of US residents out of big cities) to COVID, but this has been going on for quite a long time. Between 2010 and 2018, the five biggest states that have lost domestic population are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and California.”

Obviously, residents and some business owners had been migrating away from high-priced, heavily taxed states to areas such as South Florida, Nashville, Texas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Woloshin added, “In our view, this is not new, it’s not temporary, it will continue as companies figure out how many (employees) will be remote full time.”

Stephen Moroukian, head of product and proposition for Barclays Private Bank, said that this same migratory trend was underway pre-pandemic in London. This trend, already in gear, has only been “accelerated.” Throughout the globe, Moroukian said, “We see more of our clients looking at the French Riviera and thinking about long term requirements, being able to work remotely.”

Kate Everett-Allen, partner and head of global residential research with Knight Frank, agreed. “In Europe, second-home markets like Provence, the South of France, Tuscany have really taken off since their markets opened up (from pandemic lockdowns).” Everett-Allen added that similar strong activity is evident in cities from Manila to Stockholm, Geneva, Moscow and Tokyo. “There’s a whole range of reasons why these secondary markets are coming to the fore.”

Despite consensus that some iteration of remote work is here-to-stay post-pandemic, all the experts agreed that cities are not down for the count. Dr. Christopher J. Mayer, Milstein professor of real estate and co-director of the Milstein Center for real estate at Columbia Business School, said, “There are very good reasons people live in cities and have moved to cities…it’s about attractive places to live…experiences that are all really unique to cities.”

Woloshin added, “When we look at New York or San Francisco, they have a lot going for them. Once we get a vaccine, we will see a resurgence. Will it go back to the hot prices we had? Time will tell.”


Thanks to Penta.

Also read: Inman’s Handbook on Creating Online Home Tours – Part IV, Ask Yourself These Questions to Kick Up Your Confidence, Where Americans Are Moving and Why

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