Coronavirus Concerns Prompt Catskills Real Estate Rush

The region is seeing a significant increase in demand

It's hard to argue with vistas like this.
Mwanner/Creative Commons

What are the effects COVID-19 will have on American cities in the long term? Are we witnessing significant departures from cities (particularly New York), or is what’s going on right now just a slightly more pronounced version of the usual comings and goings of city residents? That won’t be apparent for some time. But what can be measured right now is the effect the coronavirus has had on real estate transactions around cities, where even a relatively small increase in the population can have a big effect.

That’s what’s going on in the Catskills north of New York City, anyway. Writing at The New York Times, Julie Lasky explores what an influx of New Yorkers is doing to the Catskills real estate market. Spoiler alert: it’s taking it to some wholly unexpected places — including causing a drop in the number of real estate listings in the area, as some would-be sellers have opted to rent out homes instead.

According to the state association, the number of new listings in Sullivan County shrank 77.4 percent in April compared with April 2019. In Greene County, the decline was 72.1 percent; in Delaware County, 62 percent; and in Ulster County, 59.5 percent.

The real estate situation in the Catskills has also led to bidding wars on some hotly-contested homes, a phenomenon that had previously been unheard-of in the region. Unfortunately, it’s not hard to see why: the region offers plenty of scenic views, along with green space and distinctive architecture. The article does note that some of the buyers are looking for summer residences, while others are seeking new homes, a distinction worth making.

How COVID-19 affects cities is still being measured. How it affects the smaller towns surrounding those cities might be a little easier to tally moving forward.

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