“Start spreading the news, I’m leaving to today,” sang Frank Sinatra in his ode to New York. Now, though, the place many people are leaving is New York — in record numbers, according to recent census data. More than 1 million people have moved out of the New York area to other parts of the country since 2010, a rate of 4.4 percent — the highest negative net migration rate among the nation’s large population centers.
It’s not as if New Yorkers are moving away to the sunshine, either. Many are moving within commuting distance to the city. Those relocating to New Jersey, Connecticut, the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island swelled from 187,034 in 2015 to 223,423 in 2016.
Once out of the Big Apple, your buck goes a lot further. According to City-Realty’s year-end report, Manhattan apartments priced at $10 million and above made up 18 percent of condo and co-op sales in 2017. The average sales price was $2.2 million. In the suburbs that amount of money guarantees the kind of space and luxury unimaginable in NYC.
If it’s complete opulence you’re after, earlier this year a Greenwich, Connecticut mansion went on the market with a newly slashed $12 million price tag — a discount of almost $20 million from when it was first listed in 2007.
The 18,307-square-foot, six bedroom mansion on Taconic Road has 10 bathrooms, a handcrafted wood-paneled library, a billiards room, a first-floor guest suite with a separate entrance, and a 3,000-bottle wine cellar. There’s also a home theater and an indoor pool, according to the listing with Jason Kinard of Kinard Realty Group, who is handling the sale. In fact, in recent months the luxury market in Greenwich, CT, where many Wall Streeters call home has seen a lot of activity. The average sales price of the top 10 sales in the market rocketed up 68.7 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018 to average $8.92 million and a median of $6.46 million, according to a recent Douglas Elliman report. However, the same report also states that overall, luxury homes have been moving in the area because of more realistic pricing compared to 2 or 3 years ago.
Chappaqua, New York
Another affluent NY Suburb, Chappaqua, home to Bill and Hillary Clinton, has a few spacious spreads on the market just below and above the $2-million mark. For instance, 71 Leroy Rd, priced at $1.795 million, is a 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom 6,250-square-foot home with a total of 14 finished rooms. 66 Haights Cross Rd, is a 6-bedroom, 8-bathroom 7,693-square-foot home priced at $2,275,000.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
If buyers don’t mind moving further out from New York, Pennsylvania is where they get the most bang for their buck. A 90-minute commute to the Lehigh Valley almost doubles the square footage of the kind of luxury property available in tonier parts of Westchester. At 1721 Wildberry Rd in Bethlehem buyers can purchase almost 10,000 square feet of property with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths on a 2 acre lot, for $1,950,000. It has a pool, multiple livable rooms and a gym, though it is a slightly older home.
An area best known to New Yorkers wishing to get away from it all is Bucks County, PA with its country spreads, rolling hills and progressive outlook. It’s the closest liberal New Yorkers can get to their own mindset, without having to live in a city.
“Bucks County has been a draw for New Yorkers for decades,” says Michael Strickland, a realtor with Kurfiss/Sotheby’s International Realty. “ I am an ex-NYer myself and refer to Bucks Co as NY’s best kept secret. It is literally easier to get to than the Hamptons or Upstate NY — 90 minutes from the city. The Recession slowed down the buyer traffic from NY, however, I have definitely felt an uptick in my NY client base since the recovery began and the numbers of NY clients continues to increase. Lower property values, lower property taxes and proximity make it a viable alternative for full-time living with a daily commute to the city.”
For the average price of a Manhattan apartment — $2.2 million, Strickland says worn out Manhattanites could buy “a 50+ acre pristine equestrian property with an award-winning, energy-efficient 6,000-square-foot home in the Lehigh Valley or the quintessential 200-year old Pennsylvania County stone farmhouse on 10 acres in Central Bucks”
As for a perceived lack of culture, Strickland says, not so fast.
“We have a thriving arts community with numerous galleries in New Hope, Doylestown, Bethlehem and Easton, as well as museums such as the Michener Museum. The world-renowned MusikFest is an annual occurrence in Bethlehem. Fine dining, quaint country inns and avant-garde eateries can be found everywhere.”