NYC relocations accelerating at ‘substantial’ pace, local movers say

Coronavirus pandemic creates moving business boom

Americans leaving big cities for more spacious areas and younger millennials moving out of dorms and back home created a moving business boom. FOX Business’ Kristina Partsinevelos with more.

Even as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has leveled off in recent weeks, moving companies say they remain inundated with requests from people leaving New York City.

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Big Apple-based moving company Oz Moving, for example, told FOX Business that the volume of moves continues to rise at a “substantial rate” – in addition to a “drastic” spike in storage compared with years prior.

The company has seen an average increase in quote requests of 30 percent year over year.

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By July 15 Oz Moving was booked to capacity for the remainder of the month, and while it is always busy over the summer, 2020 marked the first time in 27 years the company was unable to take on additional jobs so early on.

Similarly, Roadway Moving President Ross Sapir told FOX Business that it is the busiest summer he has ever had.

“Insanely busy and for the last 3 months we couldn’t keep up with the demand,” Sapir said.

To accommodate movers who have already left Manhattan, Oz Moving even recently introduced an “absentee move,” which employees can carry out when residents are not in their apartments.

The company said it is quickly becoming one of its most sought-after services.

Both Roadway Moving and Oz Moving told FOX Business in May that the pandemic had caused business to boom in New York City, describing a panicked flight out of the densely-populated metro.

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Both continue to detail an exodus, and other statistics confirm heightened interest in leaving.

According to the most recent data from United Van Lines, between May and July there was a 95 percent year over year increase in interest in moving out of Manhattan. That compares with a 19 percent increase in moving interest in the U.S., overall.

The top destinations for people who moved out of New York City between March and August were Florida and California – which together comprised 28 percent of relocations. Texas and North Carolina made up 16 percent of moves.

New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo joked during a recent press conference that he has been bribing his friends to return to Manhattan with promises of free dinners and drinks.

“We’re trying to get people to come back,” Cuomo said. “They’re not coming back right now.”

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Still, some local real estate experts say perception of the issue may be overblown.

Lindsay Barton Barrett, a real estate broker with Douglas Elliman, told FOX Business that some of the data and stories are skewed by the fact that in-person showings only recently resumed in Manhattan, while they were allowed in other areas weeks earlier.

“The reality is that there are always people in New York selling their homes and leaving,” Barrett said. “There are certain sectors of the market that are still active and other sectors of the market that are on hold.”

Barrett noted that some people may have temporarily left the city – with plans to return – which explains a dramatic spike in storage requests.

As previously reported by FOX Business, a big factor that may play into the Manhattan real estate recovery is whether schools reopen. Parents often relocate to be closer to their children’s school.

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