Most sectors of the commercial real estate market in New Jersey have been badly hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s not the case with residential real estate.

It turns out home sales in many parts of the Garden State are doing great.

According to Rutgers University economics professor James Hughes, an increasing number of millennials, looking to start a family, had started moving out of urban areas into suburban neighborhoods before the pandemic.

“And it’s probably been accelerated by the pandemic," he said. "There’s been a lot of anecdotal evidence by the real estate industry that sales have picked up.”

He noted “there’s a lot of interest of buyers from New York, particularly in the northeastern part of the state within the New York City commuter-shed of looking at suburban houses.”

Before March, city-dwellers had been moving mostly to the closer suburban locations in New Jersey with rail stations that were tied to the Big Apple. But demand may now start growing for homes in the outer suburbs like Sussex and Warren counties.

Hughes noted the pandemic has accelerated the work-from-home phenomenon but when it’s time to go back to work, “what we may see is they’re not all going to go back to the office.”

He said “some employees will continue to work part-time from home, and companies may set up satellite offices in suburban areas where employees can occasionally meet face-to-face or at least eye-to-eye with face masks on.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com