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A “New Normal” On The North Fork

By Barbara Baker - June 17, 2020

Virtual open houses…face masks…stay 6 feet apart. These all became part of the “new normal” for agents on the North Fork over these past few months. Of course, buying a house is a highly personal transaction involving numerous sensory inputs. The virtual world will only go so far in this regard, as nothing will ever take the place of personally walking through a potential home that one is seeking to purchase. Now, as we move toward more relaxed rules in Phase 2 for brokers to show properties, everyone is breathing a sigh of relief for some return to normalcy in the homebuying process.

The East End made national news back in March as thousands of people who once only visited in the summertime started to search for short-term rental homes to shelter themselves and their families. Things have quieted down quite a bit on the rental front now that we are into summer. However, as remote working becomes the norm, this short-term migration may turn into permanent relocations. The remote working trend, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, may have a silver lining in the long run for the real estate market on the North Fork and other rural areas with great lifestyles and amenities, as temporary city renters turn into homebuyers and permanent residents.

NFRES spoke with a few top brokers on the North Fork to get a better feel for where the market stands currently, and for what the future may hold.

Thomas Uhlinger
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

NFRES: What are some of the challenges you have faced in this “new normal” market?
TU: The tedious arrangements to have a FaceTime or Zoom meeting set up and then coordinating it with seller and buyer. More importantly is not being able to obtain necessary paperwork at Town Hall and building department since they have closed and not offering much by way of online.

NFRES: Do you think more buyers will choose to permanently relocate to the North Fork?
TU: I am convinced that more and more buyers will become full time on the North Fork. It has been proven over the last three months that one can accomplish from home their necessary work.

Thomas McCloskey
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

NFRES: Can you give us some insights on how you see the real estate market going into the summer?
TM: I expect it to be very busy, with more sellers listing their homes as the NY Pause ends. As far as buyers, many people are re-evaluating their lives in the city and looking to make changes. I anticipate there will be increased interest in the North Fork as a place for a second home. Currently, we are seeing renters that are new to the area making inquiries on properties for sale.

NFRES: What amenities are homebuyers currently looking for most?
TM: NY Pause has brought about a few changes in the buyers wish lists. Requests for pools or room for a pool have greatly increased. Buyers are now open to an extra bedroom or two, in anticipation of them being used for home offices.

Sheri Winter Parker
The Corcoran Group

NFRES: Can you give us some insights on how you see the real estate market going into the summer?
SWP: The Spring real estate market was incredibly busy and I expect it to stay that way through the summer. People are looking for refuge outside of their everyday, “new normal” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

NFRES: Do you think more buyers will choose to permanently relocate to the North Fork?
SWP: I’m not certain about permanent relocation, but more of a longer term strategy to work outside the traditional office work space and use their weekend home as an extension of their primary residences. People that didn’t own before have been renting and seeing the opportunities that second home ownership can provide.

Tom Scalia
Century 21 Albertson Realty

NFRES: What are some of the challenges you face in this “new normal” market?
TS: Showing homes in person and keeping everyone involved in the process safe and healthy. We’ve already put protocols in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

NFRES: What amenities are homebuyers currently looking for most?
TS: Pools, hot tubs, fire pits, space for home offices, space for children to do distance learning from their schools.

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