The pandemic has caused many affluent city dwellers to migrate to the suburbs. Yet, some home buyers still want to maintain a connection to cities.

One way to remain connected is to maintain a part-time residence in the city. According to The WSJ’s Mansion Global, the pied-à-terre could be making a comeback.

Many wealthy urbanites are aware that eventually, the coronavirus outbreak will abate, and they aren’t willing to bid farewell to their cities entirely. Instead, they’re setting up residences outside the city where they can more comfortably work from home and avoid crowds, while also looking for smaller, part-time apartments in the city.

“We have seen some buyers in London wanting to scale down in order to buy something else out of town,” said Stuart Bailey, Head of Prime London sales at Knight Frank. “They’re not giving up on London—they want to have a pied-à-terre as a base in town. People are balancing their lives in a different way due to the nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We’re seeing a lot of people who bought houses in areas like Greenwich, Connecticut, in the last six months, but they’re not giving up on New York,” said Tamir Shemesh, a broker with Douglas Elliman in New York. “They don’t necessarily want to live in the suburbs all the time, and they know this is a temporary thing.”

For such buyers, who may be working remotely part of the week and have children attending suburban schools, a pied-à-terre would allow them to maintain a connection to the city and easily drop in on the office when they need to.

The appeal of pied-à-terre makes sense because buyers today desire more living and outdoor spaces, but they don’t want to completely give up on being in a major urban center. “Most real estate activity now is a reflection of people balancing their lives in a different way,” said Stuart Bailey, Head of Prime London sales at Knight Frank. 

Capitalizing on this trend, The Pierre Hotel in New York has pivoted to the extended-stay model for 5 to 10 percent of its rooms to relieve inventory buildup.

The Pierre began marketing its 140 rooms and 49 suites with an extended-stay “pied-à-terre” concept, offering wealthy travelers a middle point between a hotel and an apartment lease inside its own walls, with full luxury services.

Perhaps, the wealthy could afford to buy a pied-à-terre or maintain one at The Pierre. For the rest of the market, what are the options?

Alternative accommodations like flexible rentals and extended stay rentals are good choices.

Buying a pied-à-terre could be challenging in places like New York City. Many co-op buildings discourage apartments to be used as pied-à-terres. They want their residents to be present and vested in the building community.

Many alternative accommodations are in convenient locations and are in buildings with desirable amenities, such as a doorman, comfortable layout, fitness center or outdoor space. These are all attractive features for part-time residents.

Could alternative accommodations capitalize on the pied-à-terre trend?

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Categories: Trends