HUDSON — Hudson and the surrounding region have seen huge growth in real estate as people have been migrating from New York City to Columbia County.
A recent New York Times article stated Hudson was the No. 1 metro area in terms of the biggest change in net migration. The area was measured in terms of the 12534 zip code.
Out of 926 metro areas looked at in the recent Times article, Hudson and Kingston, in Ulster County, were the only two in the state to make the Top 10 list.
“COVID has definitely changed the real estate picture,” said Tracy Boomhower, president of the Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess Multiple Listing Service. “Basically people realized when they started working from home remotely, virtually however they did that, they didn’t need to be locked into an urban setting. So what they’ve discovered is they can move up to Hudson, if they need to go into the city the train is there. So that’s been a huge influx.”
She said much of the appeal of this area has been the connection to nature and the outdoors people can make in this area. It offers opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and other outdoor activities that COVID did not put a stop to, unlike the majority of indoor activities.
“In my opinion, people have figured out they can do all of these outdoor activities because they have been forced to,” said Boomhower. “They’ve rediscovered nature, and it’s a good thing. They are choosing our area because it’s so beautiful to do those outside activities.”
Hudson noticed an influx of people as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic reached its height in the spring of 2020, Mayor Kamal Johnson said. Properties flew off the market and new faces, many from Brooklyn, could be seen around the city. “A lot of property came off the market extremely fast,” he said.
Many owners of second homes made Hudson their first home, he said. Johnson credited Hudson’s proximity to New York City for its popularity for new homeowners.
But the influx of new home buyers accelerated a housing deficit Hudson locals had been facing for 10 years, Johnson said.
“With any influx of people, it definitely makes it harder for people who have been rooted here for years to remain,” he said. “There’s pros and cons for anytime there is an influx of people.”
Property owners deciding to sell to shiny price tags have displaced renters. Prospective homeowners willing to pay above what property owners could sell before made the cost of living raise exponentially.
“That makes it harder for people who have been displaced or are currently facing displacement as the apartments and the homes that they’ve lived in for so long are up for sale because people are looking to cash out,” Johnson said.
But some new residents have invested in the community, giving opportunities to local organizations, he said.
“Some of the people that moved in, they want to invest in the community,” he said. “They want to invest in some of the not-for-profits around here and they want to help out, and it’s always great to have people here that are willing to pay the taxes.”
The city offers various initiatives to combat displacement, including an incoming housing justice director, housing trust fund and affordable housing development plan. An emergency housing fund initiative called Hudson Roots has already begun. “We’re going to monitor it as closely as possible and we’re going to keep looking for more alternatives to housing,” he said.
The whole county has seen an influx of people, but Hudson has been hit the hardest because people want to be in the city, Johnson said.
Boomhower also said an influx of people into the area has affected housing market prices.
“Basically we have an incredible lack of inventory now,” said Boomhower. “And that’s pretty much across the United States, but in this area in particular, due to the proximity to New York City, because we have so many more buyers than we have homes it has definitely increased, now we have what’s called a sellers market. A lot of times were seeing multiple offers, bidding wars, people who are willing to wave contingency such as no inspections, or they are willing to pay over ask.”
This has impacted who is able to buy homes in the area. Boomhower explained many first-time home buyers have smaller downpayments, and when they put an offer on a home against a person who is offering cash they are no
“The minute a house goes on the market it already has 20 showings,” Boomhower said. “And within two days there’s already six offers, and its just hard for buyers right now.”
In the area Boomhower said in addition to Hudson and Kingston, Greenport, Woodstock, Catskill and Chatham have also become very popular for people looking to move to the area. She said all of Columbia and Greene have become popular places for home buyers.
People throughout the area have begun receiving COVID vaccines and COVID case numbers have been dropping throughout Columbia and Greene counties in recent weeks, but Boomhower said she does not expect to see a large migration of people leaving the area anytime soon.
“I don’t have a crystal ball but I do think what were seeing is going to continue for quite some time,” Boomhower said. “Simply because people have decided that they don’t need to be in an urban area any more, they don’t need to go into the office as frequently and people are starting businesses up here which is awesome for the business are and the commercial zones.”
Greenport Town Supervisor Kathy Eldridge could not immediately be reached for comment.