Many New Yorkers have abandoned the city and traded in their apartments for homes in towns like Ridgefield. And Nutmeggers have capitalized on the COVID-19 pandemic-created seller's market. "There were times in the spring of 2020 that there would be a line of cars with New York license plates lined up waiting to get in to view a new listing," said Anne Stark, the greater Danbury regional office leader for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. "Now, you can see them frequently in the parking lots at our local shopping centers," she added. Towns, such as Ridgefield and Newtown, gained hundreds of new residents in 2020, while the city of Danbury said goodbye to more residents than it welcomed, according to data from a Coldwell Banker Real Estate analysis of change-of-address notifications filed with the U.S. Post Service. Ridgefield ranked No. 5 on this list of ZIP codes in Connecticut and New York with the highest net move-ins last year. However, a Washington Depot ZIP code saw the highest number of net moves per 1,000 people in the Danbury area. That town had 67 new move-ins per 1,000 residents in 2020, compared to 32 in 2019. Although Danbury saw more residents moving out than in, the data suggests it was significantly less than the number of individuals who left the previous year. In 2019 these Danbury ZIP codes lost a combined 1,127 residents, compared to 545 in 2020. Yet, Ridgefield, New Fairfield and Newtown all experienced significant increases in the number of migrants, according to the data. Ridgefield led the area, netting 484 newcomers, with Newtown ZIP codes seeing 327 moves. What the seller's market in Connecticut looks like Due to the pandemic, a sea of buyers are fighting over a relatively small housing stock, said Cory Neumann, a real estate broker and president of the Northern Fairfield County Association of Realtors. "Where a city like Danbury normally has about 300 active listings, the city only has 69 listings for condos and single-family homes," he said, explaining that the same is true of smaller towns such as New Fairfield and Newtown. Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said his town registered approximately $52.8 million in real estate transactions this year, a distinct rise from the roughly $18 million or so it's generated in previous years. That's an about 193 percent increase. Town officials have sent at least 1,200 letters reminding new residents to register their cars with the state. There have been some signs of the town's growing base beyond the new faces surfacing on Main Street. Hardware stores are becoming busier and more people are submitting applications for pool permits. However, Marconi said the town won't know the full effects of the booming real estate market until it can examine school enrollments because the pandemic has "negated some of the variables you would associate" with this activity, such as traffic. Connecticut's draw for newcomers A stream of people left their home states to settle into the nooks of the Danbury area for a variety of reasons. Some families may hope to enjoy the lake lifestyle. Others wanted to be closer to children or grandchildren or still work in nearby New York. A few moved to "perhaps renovate an old farmhouse and raise chickens," Stark said. "What drew people to this area during the pandemic was the opportunity to have much more space indoors and outdoors," she said. "People also found that the state of Connecticut has many parks and extensive trails that gave people a chance to get some socially distanced fresh air and exercise," she said. Families and older people seeking more space and outdoor experiences might have opted for a location like Newtown rather than Danbury's cityscape because it offers both, as well as housing diversity and access to various transportation systems. Local first selectmen agreed, maintaining their small towns offer a close commute, as well as a good school district for children. However, Stark said Danbury remains an attractive option due to its ideal location adjacent to the New York border, ability to provide more room for less money in a city, and accessible transportation and parks. Heading out of state Although the state saw a large influx of homebuyers during the pandemic, the market remains hot for those looking to exit Connecticut. Stark said those who decided to part with their Danbury area homes mostly fled to the Carolinas or Florida. Realizing the market was in their favor, many took advantage of the low housing inventory. A properly-priced property will usually sell in less than a week with multiple offers, she said. The unique market niche also allowed some to downsize at a good rate. New Fairfield First Selectwoman Pat Del Monaco found that some people who wanted to retire to a southern state saw the pandemic as the right time. "While people are looking to move into New Fairfield, they thought maybe it was the time they'd get the most money for their home," she said. Neumann noted that those who were stuck in homes they bought at the height of the market were able to benefit. The low supply and high demand drove up prices, giving those homeowners the moment to sell their homes at a recouped price and head out. P.J. Prunty, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, said the migration into the area is welcomed and can be a plus for the regional economy. "A rising tide of residents moving in, whether it be in Newtown, Ridgefield, Bethel or Danbury, the reality is they're going to shop and spend their money in a variety of shops and towns," he said. "If it's an overall increase for the area, that's a net positive."