Thousands of new residents have come to Connecticut during the coronavirus pandemic with workers in New York, Boston and elsewhere look to relocate as they work from home, the state's economic development officials said.
More than 16,500 new residents moved into the state in 2020. That compares to a loss of 7,520 residents from Connecticut in 2019, the state Department of Economic and Community Development announced at a news conference Tuesday.
“People are rediscovering the Connecticut lifestyle a little bit and knowing what it means to have a little bit of extra space, maybe a little bit of a backyard," Gov. Ned Lamont said. “If you think this may not be the last time we ever have to quarantine, Connecticut's not a bad place to be.”
Carol Christiansen, the president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors, said Connecticut home prices have risen by about 20% over the past year, with fewer houses on the market than people looking to buy.
The median sale price for Connecticut single-family home in 2020 was an all-time high $300,000, a 15.4% increase from 2019, according to a report earlier this month from The Warren Group, which tracks real estate data across the country.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said there is a concern in the cities that the migration from offices to at-home work could have a negative impact on downtowns.
But as companies reassess the need to be located in places like New York City, they may be attracted to the relatively low cost of acquiring office space in Hartford and other Connecticut municipalities, he said.
“One of the things that you can find here in Hartford and in other Connecticut cities and around Connecticut is a place where you can have an amazing quality of life and also a lower cost of doing business, with access to the world's best talent at your doorstep,” he said.
Glendowlyn Thames, the deputy commissioner of the DECD, said the state also saw a 9% increase in new business startups last year.
Lamont said he believes it will be those smaller businesses that end up taking the space in Connecticut's office towers.