As Wealthy Depart For Second Homes, Class Tensions Come To Surface In Coronavirus Crisis

As New York City’s coronavirus cases exploded in recent weeks, residents fleeing to second homes have come under intense scrutiny and push-back, prompting officials in multiple states to create highway checkpoints screening for New Yorkers and a national travel advisory for the entire Tri-state area, highlighting the dramatic roles class and wealth will play in the pandemic.

With over 60,000 coronavirus cases in New York, Wealthy New Yorkers with secondary homes are fleeing the City with massive effect on vacation home communities: the population of Southampton has gone from 60,000 a few weeks ago to 100,000 and rental prices in Hudson Valley rocketed from $4,000 to $18,000 per month.

In wealthy New England island communities like Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island that are heavy with secondary homes and short on hospital infrastructure, officials are going so far as to cancel all hotel, Airbnb and VRBO reservations while stationing state troopers and the National Guard to maintain flow on islands and, in the case of Rhode Island, instating 14 day mandatory quarantine on all people traveling to stay in the state from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

Nest Seekers International’s Dylan Eckardt told the Wall Street Journal about a well-heeled client getting in touch this month. “I got this call: ‘I’m on my way, driving out from the city. You’ve got to find me a house south of the highway with nine bedrooms, I want no one around me. I want a pool, a tennis court. I’ve got a blank check. Make it happen.’”

Eckardt, based in Bridgehampton, said he had “never seen a rental market like this.”

“We’re renting stuff that never rents in March. There’s not even a price for it, because it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Andrea Ackerman, of Brown Harris Stevens’ Bridgehampton office, told the publication about hearing from a client who Ackerman then asked about budget.




“She said, ‘I have no budget. I don’t need a big house. I could go three bedrooms, but I want Mid-century modern.’”

Eckardt said he found a 15,000-square-foot house for his client, who paid $150,000 for a 50-day period.

“He said he wanted his own cleaning people,” Eckardt recalled. “They pulled up in two cars — 11 people in white zip-up suits with masks, hairnets, booties, full-on rubber gloves. They cleaned the house for eight hours. They wanted us to video each room while they were doing it.”

New York City’s poorer boroughs are hit hardest by coronavirus: Brooklyn and Queens, remain the epicenter of COVID-19, compared to Manhattan with average income of, which has been less effected by the virus.

This will unfortunately lead to class tensions across the USA and the world. Higher rates of burglary, riots, looting, its a case of the “Have’s and “Have Not’s” and at this stage in the game it’s all about Security and Protecting your Home and Businesses.

We see the same thing happening in California and other places in the world. Now is the time to act!

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