More and more wealthy New Yorkers are purchasing vacation homes down the block -- here's why

You may not immediately think to purchase a vacation home in the same city as your permanent residence, but more and more real estate agents are saying this is a growing trend among homebuyers.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported examples of this phenomenon in major cities across the US, including couples with two homes in Miami and Los Angeles.

But why spend the money for another place just a few miles away?

Victoria Shtainer, a New York City-based realtor with Compass, said that some of her clients purchasing homes in Brooklyn say they want a change of scenery from their Manhattan neighbourhoods.

“It’s a different feeling and a different mindset,” Shtainer said to Business Insider. “You feel like you’re away from your everyday problems and work and you are able to take yourself to a different place.”

Buying another home in a different borough allows homeowners to experience a new neighbourhood’s nightlife and restaurants. Instead of rushing back to their permanent address, they’d have more freedom to spend the night or the weekend at their second home. She said her clients enjoy changing their everyday routine.

“You go to the same streets, same doorman,” Shtainer said. “Here, you have all your things in a different place and you transform yourself.”

Gill Chowdhury, a New York City-based broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, said he has clients who are based uptown, but who are using a second home in Tribecca as a “test run” before purchasing a larger home in the same neighbourhood.

“They want to get a better sense of the neighbourhood, more so than just going in the neighbourhood and going home everyday, but really to experience and immerse themselves in what it’s actually like to live downtown,” Chowdhury said.

This lifestyle, of course, comes at a price. Shtainer describes these clients as people who “have disposable income.”

“It’s a luxury that few of us can afford, but they love it,” Shtainer said. “They would not have it any other way.”

Chowdhury also acknowledges that clients must be of a certain economic background to be able to purchase second homes.

“There are various reasons why people with the money would want to and end up making that decision,” he said. “I think for the most part that there’s that ‘staycation’ aspect.”

Shtainer has also seen clients who might want a beach vacation, but who don’t want to go too far from Manhattan.

“There’s people that live in the city and they have a summer residence in Brooklyn on the water,” Shtainer said. “You could take the train and be there in 45 minutes and you’re on the boardwalk, you’re beachfront, and you spend the whole weekend on the water.”

A home on the beach in Brooklyn is not only closer, but is also much cheaper than purchasing a home in the Hamptons.

“They want to be beachfront, and these apartments are affordable because they are under $1 million, and you have the beach downstairs,” Shtainer said. “To replicate this in the Hamptons, you need at least $5 million, plus it’s more of a commute.”

To separate the living experiences in clients’ permanent homes and vacation homes, Shtainer said the homes often have a very distinct feel to them.

“One house has a beachy feel, compared to the home in Manhattan with a modern feel to it,” she said. “The second home is usually more casual.”

So if you’re a New Yorker looking for a “staycation” experience without the cost or travel time to the Hamptons, perhaps a second home nearby is a new purchase you should consider.

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