Home Design Trends: Analyzing the Migration From Manhattan to Connecticut The past year has shown a substantial shift in demand for suburban residences and an uptick in home renovation projects, resulting in homeowners reevaluating their home spaces in 2021. Through a virtual panel discussion organized by New England Home Connecticut Magazine, home design and real estate professionals were brought together to discuss the effects the pandemic has had on the industry along with the innovative trends for the future of home design. In this blog, we’ll hear from the following contributors and address the recent migration from Manhattan to Connecticut. Moderator Tyra Dellacroce | Connecticut Stone Panelists Robin Kencel | The Robin Kencel Group Beth Krupa | Beth Krupa Interiors, President ASID CT Jeff Kaufman | JMKA architects Arnold Karp | Karp Associates The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected nearly every facet of our lives since nationwide lockdowns began in March of 2020. In the real estate and home design industries, the pandemic has had some interesting effects — especially as more people have begun to move from New York City into local suburbs. According to the United States Postal Service, nearly 10,000 people requested an address change from New York to Connecticut between March and early June of 2020. After renting in areas like lower Fairfield County and Greenwich for several months, we’re also beginning to see that many of these people have now made Connecticut their full-time residences. So, what are some of the key factors that have influenced buyers to relocate to Connecticut permanently — and what does this all mean for the home design industry moving forward? Tyra Dellacroce of Connecticut Stone recently had the opportunity to host a virtual panel discussion with some industry professionals who were happy to share their insights. Proximity to New York City When the pandemic first hit the United States, and many Manhattan companies began allowing their employees to work from home, people who had previously planned on waiting several years to relocate from NYC to a nearby suburb began moving their timetables forward. Also, these motivated workers did not want to be physically distanced from New York City. Because of its proximity to Manhattan, many people logically chose lower Fairfield County and the surrounding communities. For example, in less than an hour, it is possible to get from Greenwich to the heart of New York City — with the geographical distance between the two locations being under 40 miles. Great Schools, Lower Taxes In addition to its proximity to Manhattan, many people began relocating to Connecticut communities at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic because of the lower taxes and excellent school systems. As Robin Kencel of the Robin Kencel Group explains in the virtual panel, “Families who may have previously been putting off a move to the suburbs began to realize that they could reap the rewards of paying less in taxes while ensuring that their children would continue to receive a quality education, even in the public school system.” Meanwhile, those who were planning on starting families a few years down the road realized that they could move now and get “established” in a great suburb rather than continue to live in a busy city. A Slower-Paced Lifestyle While it’s true that there’s no place like New York City, the pandemic has really highlighted many people’s need for a slower-paced and more relaxed lifestyle. “Those who may have been thinking about moving to the suburbs in a few years have pushed their timelines forward to begin enjoying the physical and mental health benefits of living a more relaxed lifestyle here in Connecticut,” explains Arnold Karp of Karp Associates. As a result, many homeowners began focusing more on the spaces where they were working, which happened to be at home. They realized they needed more space or even a dedicated office area – another major influence on home design trends. As Jeff Kaufman of JMKA Architects discusses in the virtual home design panel, “Many people are beginning to realize that not only do they enjoy the ability to work from home, but they’re just as productive working at home as they were in the office.” This realization has led to more people creating a dedicated office space has become an absolute must-have more many. This is especially true, as Beth Krupa of Beth Krupa Interiors explains, “as up to 20% of the workforce currently working from home is expected to continue doing so even after the pandemic ends.” Likewise, the need for more square footage has become apparent. This is especially true in multi-generational households, where adults may be living with parents and their own children. Never before has there been such a great focus on everybody having their own individual space to spread out and get comfortable — and we don’t anticipate this trend changing anytime soon. The Bottom Line The pandemic has had some fascinating effects on local real estate; now, inventory in the Greenwich and lower Fairfield County communities is low due to the high demand for properties here. We anticipate that many people will be buying and renovating homes to suit their needs as time goes on. If you’re interested in upgrading and preparing your home for the market or looking to renovate a place you recently purchased, reach out to our Connecticut Stone team today to get started.