Connecticut has emerged as a top destination for those relocating due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey by a national moving company shows, a finding that’s been reflected through a hot real estate market and reports of increased enrollment at schools near the New York border.

a large green field with trees in the background: The Hartford skyline is visible from Wickham Park in Manchester in this Courant file photo.

© John Woike / Hartford Courant/Hartford Courant/TNS
The Hartford skyline is visible from Wickham Park in Manchester in this Courant file photo.

United Van Lines reported that 20% of its customers who moved to Connecticut between March 1 and Aug. 31 cited the pandemic as a contributing factor for relocating here. That ranked No. 3 among the 50 states, surpassed only by Vermont and North Dakota.

The survey featured a sampling of customer responses, including one from a couple that moved from San Diego to Danbury.

“My wife’s mother died from COVID so we wanted to move back closer to family,” their response read. “Also, remote learning in our schools was not well executed, so we wanted to get our kids back into better schools, plus a bigger yard/pool. We could see that CA infections were on the rise while CT was declining.”

A couple who moved from Tampa to New Haven wrote: “COVID made us realize that living closer to family outweighs weather and cost of living. WFH for an extended period of time allowed us to make the move.”

Another response was reflective of a trend that’s been observed since March: New Yorkers looking to leave the city that was hard hit early on by the pandemic.

“Now that my husband and I are both remote, we had the flexibility to finally leave NYC,” the response from a couple aged that moved to Hartford read. “We also needed more space for our toddler.”

Connecticut’s real estate market got a jump-start in the late spring with the flight from urban New York.

At first, buyers from New York concentrated on Fairfield and Litchfield counties and along the Connecticut shoreline, with the commute to New York City in mind. Since then, homebuyers from New York have expanded their searches from the state’s Gold Coast up the Connecticut River into central Connecticut.

In a guide for New York urbanites ready to flee city life, The New York Times included a flattering mention of West Hartford as the sole Connecticut suburb on a list of the tri-state suburbs that should be under consideration.

The U.S. Postal Service reported in early July that more than 16,000 New Yorkers had left the state for suburban Connecticut since March.

The positive result for Connecticut in Tuesday’s survey, based on results from more than 6,000 moves, is a departure from poor rankings in past United Van Lines surveys that showed the state as a top place people are moving from. A survey released in January showed 63% of moves it handled in Connecticut were for people leaving and 37% were for people arriving here. The state ranked No. 4 in terms of percentage of outbound moves, down one spot from last year’s study.

Gov. Ned Lamont, in a tweet, tied Connecticut’s strong performance in the new survey to steps his administration has taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The state’s infection rate, while increasing, remains among the lowest in the country.

“The measures we took early on in the pandemic show us clearly that our economy and our public health are linked,” Lamont wrote. “We will welcome everyone from all corners to Connecticut with open arms.”

Courant staff writer Kenneth R. Gosselin contributed to this report.

Russell Blair can be reached at [email protected]


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