Phones at real estate offices in southern Connecticut are ‘ringing off the hook,’ governor says

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont told CNBC on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic will likely cause more people who live in New York City to consider moving to his state.

“There’s no question about it. Phones are ringing off the hook at real estate offices all throughout southern Connecticut,” Lamont said on “Squawk Box.” 

Lamont, a Democrat, said that Connecticut benefits significantly from being in the same “ecosystem” as New York City, which he called “the global capital of the world.”

However, he said people who live there but have been working from home for about two months are learning from that experience.

“People are realizing that telecommuting doesn’t mean you have to be in New York City five days a week,” he argued. “It means that if you have to stay home for a period of time, having a nice little backyard is not a bad way to do it.”

Some people have predicted that there will be a mass exodus from New York City, with current residents deciding to flee the city because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New York City has been a major hot-spot in the U.S. outbreak, with more than 188,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University date Friday morning. There have been over 15,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in New York City and another 5,000 classified as “probable deaths,” according to the city’s health department.

Connecticut, with just over a third of the city’s population, has nearly 35,500 total infections with about 3,200 deaths, as total cases nationwide top 1.4 million with over 85,000 deaths, and over 4.4. million total infections globally with more than 300,000 fatalities.

The real estate in areas just outside of New York City has seen increased activity, brokers previously told CNBC, although it remains too early to tell what the long-term trends are. 

“I think people will be taking a second look at Connecticut because it has some real advantages here,” Lamont said as Connecticut prepares to ease some of its coronavirus-related business restrictions. This coming Wednesday, restaurants, retailers, barbershops and salons in the state can reopen with certain restrictions and safety protocols in place. 

“We’ll have two or three weeks, we’ll see whether people follow the social protocols,” Lamont said, noting face coverings at restaurants, for example, and enhanced sanitation. “If it looked like it was working pretty well, June 20 would be our next phase and we’ll think about what we do from there.”

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