Coronavirus has changed the way many people live, particularly in large cities like New York. City dwellers who had tolerated small, tight spaces suddenly found those same spaces intolerable as the places, activities, and workplaces that made city life necessary and fun went dormant.
Working from home – and sharing that space with partners and children – became difficult to impossible. Those who already had vacation homes moved into them, and those who didn't began shopping for a getaway.
Now, a year and a half into the pandemic, with vaccination nearly ubiquitous in New York and business and events reopening, city dwellers who escaped to the suburbs, the country, or the beach are beginning to miss the hustle-bustle. But many of them don't miss it quite enough to return full-time or to give up their idyllic country lives.
Enter the Pied-a-terre
In French, the term means “small apartment.” In common usage, it refers to a second home that is purchased or rented to provide someone with an affordable place to stay in the city occasionally.
Pieds-a-terre have exploded in popularity in the last few months as city dwellers who decamped to smaller towns now need a place to stay in the city for a few days a week. Many of these people gave up their leases or sold their larger city apartments when they found that they were spending a lot more time in the country. In many cases, their second home has now become their first. They aren't looking to move full time to the city and don't need as much space as before.
People looking to buy a pied-a-terre should closely analyze the building's policies as well as local ordinances to make sure they will be allowed to use the space as they intend. Many buildings and communities have passed rules that prohibit, for example, short-term rentals. Others may insist that the owner is present when any guests stay in the property. Pied-a-terre owners also will not benefit from all the tax deductions that a primary residence can receive, and may even get hit with additional taxes, so buyers should be sure to know, financially, what they're getting into before they buy.
But, for those who can afford it, what could be better than keeping a foot in two wonderful worlds?