As I observe my world, in a small town on Cape Cod, I think sometimes I must be living in a dream. My inner world, what I see and feel around me, doesn’t seem to jive with anything happening in the outer world. I’m not a pessimist, but a realist. I strive not to only listen to the bad news. I try to be balanced. I’m shocked, however, by the incredible ignorance of basic facts about the global pandemic, its devastation of our health, our economy, our way of life, and our future. The stock market and our real estate market on Cape Cod seem headed in an upward direction with no concerns about tomorrow. I’m stunned by this divergence of my worlds.
I understand that a commercial real estate market crash in NYC and a mass exodus of corporate employees out of metropolitan areas is a boon for the local real estate market. Still, I can’t help but think that a lot of people aren’t thinking this whole thing through. We’re living through an enormous societal readjustment that’s going to touch every aspect of our lives for a very long time. You can’t tell me that just moving all those employees out of NYC to CC because of CV-19 is not a big deal. It’s going to affect a lot more people, a lot more companies and many more areas. Devastation in one area does not stay there, whether it’s a virus or an enormous economic calamity, it spreads.
In this brilliant and scary article from Michael Wilson of the New York Times, a horrible scenario that is currently unfolding is detailed.
“Midtown Manhattan, the muscular power center of New York City for a century, faces an economic catastrophe, a cascade of loss upon loss that threatens to alter the very identity of the city’s corporate base. The coronavirus’s toll of lost professions, lost professionals and untold billions of lost income and tax revenue may take years to understand and resolve.”Michael Wilson
What does all this mean? For me, there are huge unresolved questions spinning around in our world at the moment. Since COVID-19 changed our world, has anyone really had the strength of imagination to conceive what New York City will be like going forward? What happens to all of those people whose businesses were destroyed by this catastrophe? If part of the answer is that everyone that can afford it can just simply pick up stakes and move to Cape Cod, what happens to the small-town charm of the Cape? What happens to real estate values when every home is snapped up in a matter of minutes by someone escaping New York? How will those of us on the lower end of the economic spectrum in the lower middle class afford to live here anymore? How many affordable little homes are going to be scraped from the market to make room for “bigger and better” homes? How are those that are in the service industry going to be able to afford to live here? How many towns on the Cape are going to be able to resist the huge developers and their lobbyists that are going to magically find a new breeding ground here?
Will CC be able to survive the CV19 escape from NYCC? Only time will tell.
NYC Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash mashup with our photo of a stunning sunset on Indian Neck Beach in Wellfleet.