Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?

Our changing houses The past year and a half has been one of the most turbulent times in recent real estate history. The pandemic has...



The past year and a half has been one of the most turbulent times in recent real estate history. The pandemic has not only changed where some of us lived, but also what home means.

In a new series we’re calling “Our Changing Lives,” this newsletter will explore how the pandemic has changed the way we live now. To start off, we spoke with Stefanos Chen, who covers real estate, about how our homes have become different.

People with means moved, people who lost their jobs and could no longer pay rent were forced to move, and another huge population who fell behind on rent or mortgage payments became ” blocked, ”Stefanos said. We asked Stefanos about a few other trends.

Where did people go from and to?

As much as the pandemic has uprooted everything in our lives, so have migratory patterns have surprisingly remained largely the same.

The big exceptions were cities like Seattle, New York and San Francisco, very expensive places where people decided, “We need to move to a more affordable place.” Space is also a function of affordability, and crazed buyers decided they could get a lot more square footage by moving outside of expensive cities.

Other cities that were already benefiting from inbound migration – parts of Florida, the Hudson Valley in New York, parts of the Sunbelt – continued to benefit.

Part of this will persist, if only because a lot of things we took for granted before – the five-day work weeks and the centrality of downtown areas – have eased. We do not come back to this point.

How have the designs of the house changed?

We didn’t have to demarcate our houses like we do now. Not that the work-life balance was perfect, but there was home and work, and there was this great firewall. Now, at least for those who have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from home, it is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. you are on your work computer and then, to relax, from 7 p.m. to midnight you are on your computer. amusing. And maybe it’s the same computer, and it’s in the same room. And your kids are hovering over you all day.

I think the idea of ​​the house is changing because of the way the idea of ​​the workplace is changing. There is now this hazy space between home and work that we must continue to struggle with. All the tidy compartments we had are sort of gone.

How has the pandemic changed the lifestyles of families?

There was recently a national survey on the issue of buying a multigenerational home. The survey found that in the first wave of the virus, 15% of homebuyers reported buying multigenerational homes, the highest share since 2012. Some of the first fears were in senior housing , and many people who could afford it, decided to get their elderly parents out of these situations.

But the unpredictable market has also fueled this trend. I spoke to a family where the grandparents sold their house because of the crazy heat in the market. They sold more than ask in a week, then their grown children sold their home in less than a week. With their windfall, they bought a large estate in Connecticut, where none of them had ever lived before.


We asked readers this week to send us their stories of moving during the pandemic, and hundreds of you have written.

We were immediately struck by how some of you have moved – not once – but several times over the past 16 months.

Danielle, now from Jacksonville, Florida, has moved twice; Laura Hornkohl in Bow, NH, has moved three times; while Ghadah Alrawi in Taipei, Taiwan, moved houses four times during the pandemic.

Many of you moved to be closer to your family, or took on a new job in another state, or were free to choose where you wanted to live due to remote working. Some people, like Stephanie Harper of Eugene, Oregon, who had been considering relocating for some time, took a very hands-on approach: She ranked the places her family wanted to live based on factors like diversity, l access to health care and the cost.

“Michigan turned out to be at the top of most of our lists,” Stephanie wrote. “We spent our first year here locked up with everyone, but we quickly found a job and are currently looking for a house.”

As people fled New York and rental prices dropped, people like Theadora Paulucci got the chance to live on their own for the first time.

“The change has been extremely positive and I am so happy,” Theadora said. “I need to be able to come home and not have to deal with anyone’s mental health issues. Conversely, I’m sure I’m bossy and irritating.

For many of you, expanding your living space has become a pressing concern. Andrew Wallner and his girlfriend were living in a tiny bedroom in Portland, Oregon when the pandemic forced them both to work from home.

“We quickly agreed on who could be at the dining room table rather than taking video calls from the bedroom dresser,” he wrote. “We even made up a fictional imaginary coworker whom we would blame for the (frequent) mess left in our wake as we worked long hours.”

The couple recently moved into a unit with more space, more natural light and a home office – which “has been excellent”. Even so, he added, they “still blame the fictitious colleague for the occasional mess.”

Many of you have questioned the way your new communities are handling the virus.

“There isn’t anyone wearing a mask in Wyoming and we don’t really feel comfortable in the culture of denial of the American cowboy of the West,” wrote Anne Quinn Corr, who has moved from State College, Pa., to be near her daughter and new grandson. Anne loved the time with family, “but we miss our life and friends in Pennsylvania and the ease of knowing our neighbors are aware of the danger of Covid and cautious. “

Erica Seeuwen and their partner disliked Florida’s virus policies and “wanted to go to a place where we felt safer and took it more seriously.”

The two moved to North Carolina, which was difficult at first, but like many of you who moved during the pandemic, you eventually learned how to build a new home in your new location.

“I learned that nothing is permanent in life. If you’re afraid to take a step or try something new, it doesn’t have to go on forever, ”Erica wrote. “Give it a shot. If that’s great, great! If not, make another change. Life is too short to be held back by the uncertainty of the unknown.


Find out how the vaccine rollout is going in your county and state.



We are doing our best to make the most of the last week of summer before our 7 and 9 year old boys start school. Our governor demanded that schools cannot require masks. We went to California a few days ago for one last summer hoorah, but I spent a lot of my time emailing our school and talking with educators to try to convince them to go away. masked children from others and maintaining temperature controls will help protect our children. Unfortunately, like my attempts at bodyboarding this week, I failed. I am preparing for a school year filled with quarantines, unexpected time off and constant fear.

– Nicole Kummer, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Let us know how you are dealing with the pandemic. Send us an answer here, and we could feature it in a future newsletter.

Sign up here to receive the briefing by email.


Email your thoughts to briefing@nytimes.com.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?
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