When the coronavirus pandemic first exploded domestically, New York City emerged as its clear epicenter. With its cramped subway cars, tiny apartments, and general crowded nature, that wasn't a shock.
As a result, the city has experienced a mass exodus in the course of the past 12 months. Not only have city residents been fleeing to nearby suburbs in the hopes of snagging private outdoor space and square footage, but they've also been heading to summer communities outside of Manhattan.
Unlike New York City suburbs like Westchester County, these communities don't offer sprawling properties and 5,000-square-foot interiors loaded with high-end amenities. Rather, these summer communities typically feature modest, affordable bungalow-style housing. But their proximity to the city lends to their appeal, and their relative safety in an age of social distancing is enough to entice city dwellers. (And besides, when you're used to a studio apartment, a small bungalow is still an upgrade from a square-footage perspective.)
Campwoods Grounds, a cooperative community of single-family homes in Ossining, is one such example. Located about 32 miles from New York City, the former summer bungalow colony has evolved into a year-round community. And it's not the only one.
If you're looking to add properties to your real estate portfolio, you might consider putting some money into a similar community. There's a good chance the demand for housing near New York City will remain high, even as things begin to improve on the coronavirus front.
The right location at the right price
While there's a good chance many former city dwellers will seek to return to Manhattan once the pandemic comes to an end, not everyone will look to go this route. Many employers are expected to retain long-term remote work arrangements after seeing how successful they've been over the past year. And without commute-related constraints to worry about, some former city enthusiasts may opt to stay Manhattan-adjacent rather than return to the cramped apartments that made them feel claustrophobic before the pandemic began.
Furthermore, some city residents may seek to leave Manhattan once they get the green light to work remotely for the long haul -- a decision more employers could make this year. As such, investing in summer communities could be a pretty solid bet given the number of people who may no longer feel compelled to pay city prices just to be near a job.
But if you opt to invest in a summer community, you also get to hedge your bets -- if you can't find year-round tenants, you can always revert to renting out your property at a premium during peak season. Even in normal times, New York City residents are known to ditch the city on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and not everyone can afford a house in the Hamptons. By investing in a more modest summer community, you might manage to snag a home at a reasonable price, all the while enjoying the demand that comes with being in close proximity to a major metro area.
Of course, buying into a summer community could involve jumping through certain hoops -- namely, in some cases, getting co-op board approval and adhering to a strict set of rules. But if you're looking to add a piece of real estate to your portfolio, you might consider looking at New York City's many neighboring summer communities. It could end up being a viable income stream for many years to come.