Nearly 13% of NYers plan to purchase a home in...

Nearly 13% of NYers plan to purchase a home in the next six months, a Siena College poll shows. Seen here, real estate broker Amar Prashad, right, shows a home to Julia Kropiewnicki and Eddie Funez in Lloyd Harbor on March 15. Credit: Corey Sipkin

More New Yorkers plan to buy a house in the next six months than at any time in the past 20 years as city dwellers seek safety in less populated areas from the coronavirus and street protests, according to a poll.

The Siena College Research Institute poll released Wednesday found 12.6% of state residents anticipate purchasing a home by next spring. That’s the highest percentage in at least 20 years, pollster Doug Lonnstrom said.

"The survey result is driven by New York City residents, with nearly 17% of them saying they plan to purchase a new home," he said. "People want to get out of New York City. They’re worried about their safety, they want isolation."

Lonnstrom said fears about the spread of COVID-19, coupled with street protests over civil rights and other issues, "has made people afraid."

He pointed to spikes in homebuying on Long Island, particularly on the East End, and in the city’s northern suburbs since early June when COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on in-person house tours.

Last month, across Long Island, excluding the East End, buyers signed contracts for 2,990 single-family homes, up 34% year-over-year for all price ranges, according to a report by the brokerage Douglas Elliman and the appraisal company Miller Samuel.

In the Siena survey, about 8% of adults in the Island and the northern suburbs said they want to purchase a house in the next six months.

Besides the rise in anticipated homebuying, Lonnstrom said the poll showed increases in planned purchases of automobiles, consumer electronics, furniture and major home improvements compared with polls conducted in June and March.

The survey of 804 New York State residents was conducted Aug. 20-Sept. 29 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. Siena uses the results to determine consumer confidence, a key economic indicator.

Siena's Index of Consumer Sentiment was 74.8 points in September in the metropolitan area, up from 72.5 points in June. The index plunged to 64.8 points in March when the coronavirus first struck.

However, the index remains below the break-even point of 75 points, when the number of people who are optimistic about their immediate financial future equals the number who are pessimistic.

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Statewide: 12.6%

NYC: 17%

Long Island and downstate suburbs: 8%

SOURCE: Siena College Research Institute poll in Aug. 20-Sept. 29

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