Wilton is left behind in change of address rush
Editor’s note: This is part of a Hearst Connecticut Media series examining the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the state’s real estate market and community resources.
Coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 10 times the usual number of New Yorkers are trading their Empire State ZIP codes for the Nutmeg State. But not here, and that is confounding because New Yorkers are making Wilton a stop on their house-hunting tours.
According to data obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media, nearly 10,000 New York residents requested a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service between March and mid-June, giving a Connecticut address as their new residence. In 2019, that number was closer to 1,200.
Nearby, some towns saw a flood of requests. Weston, which jumped to 287 this year from 43 last year and Westport, which increased from 53 to 569, were the two most dramatic.
Wilton went in the other direction, dropping from 161 requests in 2019 to 81 this year.
That is not to say all of these changes represent new residents moving in, whether they be home buyers or renters. Some can be people taking up more permanent residence in a second home and some could be college students moving home. Or as one Norwalk real estate agent described it, young adults moving from the city to ride out the virus with mom and dad.
Still, the data seems to support a trend described by some real estate professionals of New York residents, particularly those in New York City, fleeing that crowded urban environment for more room to social distance in the suburbs.
As of July 6, here have been 398,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York State, which has also suffered nearly 25,000 deaths, most of them in New York City and its suburbs.
Of all Connecticut counties, Fairfield has seen the most change of address requests with 4,946, compared to 765 in 2019. One reason city dwellers might be heading over state lines are lower taxes compared to Westchester County and mostly shorter travel time to Manhattan than New York’s further-out suburbs of Putnam, Dutchess and Rockland counties.
Where the changes are from
This year, most of Wilton’s out-of-state changes of address came from Brooklyn (28), but a significant number are in-state, coming from Greenwich (44) and Danbury (35).
In New Canaan, by contrast, almost all the change requests — 267 — came from Manhattan.
Westport’s changes were more diverse, with 222 coming from Manhattan, but also 51 from Florida and several from Westchester and Massachusetts. One siginificant chunk — 79 — came from New Canaan.