The Top Destination for Manhattanites Fleeing the Pandemic This Past Year? Brooklyn

The Top Destination for Manhattanites Fleeing the Pandemic This Past Year? Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan (Image: Tom Coe/Unsplash)

As the coronavirus swept across the country last year, stories abounded of New Yorkers fleeing the cramped city en masse for more spacious climes, especially from the wealthy parts of Manhattan. But the most common destination for Manhattanites was one right across the East River.

That’s according to a travel analysis published this week by Bloomberg, which found that Brooklyn was number one destination for those leaving Manhattan in the last year. About 20,000 Manhattan residents moved to the borough permanently or temporarily between March 2020 and February 2021.

That beat out second-place Florida, where 19,000 Manhattan residents moved, though 9,000 of those folks said their moves were temporary.

The results of the analysis, which Bloomberg conducted using data on U.S. Postal Service changes of address and mail forwarding, are likely unsurprising to those following local real estate trends. While neighborhoods across the city saw rent decreases last year, home sales in Brooklyn jumped last summer even as they continued to lag in Manhattan, and other data shows the rent price gap between once-affordable Brooklyn and pricer Manhattan has nearly disappeared.

The Bloomberg analysis revealed other interesting trends. In raw numbers, New York saw the greatest loss in net moves of any city over the past year, but almost 79% of those who moved stayed within the metro area.

While Miami and Los Angeles were popular destinations for those who left, more moved to places like Westchester, Long Island or Stamford, Connecticut. And, as has been reported previously, higher-income zip codes saw the sharpest increases in movement at the height of the pandemic.

Still, even if the “urban exodus” isn’t quite as severe as was once feared, it’s still having a profound impact on New York’s rental market. Rents citywide hit a ten-year low in the first quarter of 2021; among other impacts, that shift has freed up more homes for those who use Section 8 affordable housing vouchers.