Real Estate with Anessa Cohen

Humans are creatures of adaptation. From the beginning of time, they have evolved and changed their habits and dwellings according to whatever was going on in the world.

Thousands of years ago — when living depended on finding shelter, whether that meant in a cave or with gathered branches of a tree or piles of rocks — until today, the main objective and instinct has always been the same: create an environment where you will be protected and hopefully be able to survive.

We have come a long way from the day-to-day struggle to survive, but certain things never change, and that means that whatever is going on around us, as humans, we are going to be looking for what works best for our comfort and prospects of prosperity.

Fast-forward to post-Civil War days in the late 1800s. Those Southerners were looking to find a place to live and prosper after losing everything they owned during the war. In seeking a way to rebuild their lives and make a new start, thousands moved west, looking for the magical opportunity to turn their lives around.

Patterns of this kind can be seen in nearly every generation because of a variety of events, unexpected but real, requiring people to look at their situations and evaluate if the better way forward for them and their families is to look for a new location and change their mazal by picking up and starting from scratch.

After World War II, with hundreds of thousands of war-weary U.S. veterans returning after years overseas fighting, the federal government realized that these vets needed jobs and housing.

The VA program had to create swathes of building developments across the nation to house all these newly returned veterans, most with mortgages guaranteed by the U.S. government in amounts even beyond the 100% range, since fighting overseas had left them with nothing in their pockets; goodwill and gratitude for their service was all we could offer them in return.

Huge new towns and developments were built for these veterans. Levittown, New Hyde Park, and others were some of the local areas that were established from the idea to build plenty of housing for all the returning World War II vets.

I now jump forward to what I have named the “COVID Era,” which began in March, which has created so many changes that spurred people to reimagine their lifestyles.

There have been a lot of interesting changes, starting with the “wagon train” of people who left the city for their vacation homes to quarantine far from the eye of the COVID storm.

This has created a situation — particularly in Manhattan — of significantly fewer people floating around what had previously been busy streets, as many building residents locked up their apartments and left for the Hamptons or upstate New York to their second homes.

We have also been seeing the rising prices of home sales in areas such as Long Island and upstate New York, as those who can afford to buy homes out of the city seek to find a house in the suburbs, distancing themselves from the high-contagion areas of the five boroughs.

Some who cannot afford to buy but can comfortably rent are renting homes or apartments as alternate dwellings to wait out the pandemic, figuring that it’s a safer option that remaining in the crowded city.

How these changes will continue to affect the suburban areas remains to be seen, since the longer these “temporary” dwellers remain, the stronger the possibility that they will put down roots in their COVID digs and may not want to go back to where they were before. After all this time, their old homes might not feel so comfortable or familiar anymore.

The answers to what happens when this is all over will have to wait, since no one is going back to anything until the “vaccine” debuts! In the interim, we are all adapting to the best of our abilities to be safe, smart, and responsible. 

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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