Pandemic turning North Country second homes into primary residences

The 2020 real estate market was bustling in the North Country, in large part because of the coronavirus pandemic. There were fewer homes for sale overall, and they were getting snatched up quickly, at or above asking price, says Michael Coughlin, who directs several boards of realtors in the Adirondacks and the Champlain Valley.

“People wanted to get out of the urban areas because they perceived us as being safe; or at least, safer than where they were.”

Those same desires also turned a number of North Country second homes into primary residences, especially since work has gone online for so many. The Condon couple in Lake Pleasant are one such example.

Barbara Condon lived in Wells, in the southern Adirondacks, as a teenager, then moved away as an adult. But she’s always loved the region. So she and her husband Jim have had a second home in the Adirondacks for the last 25 years, and tried to visit as often as possible.

“We try to come up in the summer for several days every other weekend, and in the winter, at least once a month.”

Normally, their primary residence is in Carney, New Jersey, in the metro New York area. In March, because of COVID-19, they moved into their Lake Pleasant home full-time.

Condon says she has several underlying health conditions, “and while I was game for staying in New Jersey and working, my husband was just so afraid that I was going to catch the virus, so he checked with his work, and bounced it off of me and thought that we should move.”

She agreed, and they moved into their second home in Lake Pleasant in March. They’ve been there ever since. Both of them are still working full-time, but remotely. Condon’s husband is an engineer and is able to do “everything through conference calls, you know, teleconferencing.”

Barbara Condon’s work is a little more unusual. She’s a funeral director, and owns a funeral home back in New Jersey. She says she’s been amazed by how much she can do remotely.

“I take care of our website, I can do obituaries, our death certificate system is 100% online. I was actually surprised to learn, step by step, what I can do from here!

Condon isn’t sure what the future holds, but says she’d love to keep living in Lake Pleasant fulltime, if possible.

“Except for the social isolation aspect of it, I would like to stay here. I consider myself in practice for retirement.”


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