The state is experiencing a real estate boom as more people choose to relocate to Connecticut, a positive economic trend that is sparking enthusiasm among entrepreneurs relocating to the state.
One of those companies is Aquiline Drones, which has taken up residence in downtown Hartford, where Governor Ned Lamont was joined on Tuesday by economic development and real estate officials to explain why Connecticut has become a draw. by lot.
While the state has seen a steady decline in net migration over the past decade, the Department of Economic and Community Development has followed positive trends through the US Postal Service, which shows an influx of people moving to Connecticut , mainly from New York.
DECD Deputy Commissioner Glendowlyn Thames said on Tuesday that Connecticut saw more than 16,500 new residents in 2020, compared to more than 7,000 who left the state in 2019.
The state is also seeing a sharp increase in the number of new businesses, increasing 9% from the same period last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
Aquiline Drones CEO Barry Alexander said he and other small business owners hope to “revitalize Connecticut,” as his business plans to continue to grow, potentially opening a restaurant on the Connecticut River and using Aquiline drones to deliver food to boats on the river.
“COVID-19 has ushered in a plethora of hardship pretty much the world, but with hardship, creates opportunity,” he said, adding that his goal is to make Connecticut “the drone capital of the world.” .
Lamont praised Alexander, from Saint Lucia, for his vision and technology.
“If I was still doing stuff, I would be doing drones,” Lamont joked.
He noted that Connecticut has a long history of being a leading manufacturer nationwide.
“If we can make submarines, we can make helicopters, we make jet engines, I know we can make drones,” Lamont said, adding that his administration offers incentives based on performance rather than to provide grants for jobs which may or may not materialize as was done under the previous administration.
Now, “you earn it as you go,” he said.
Not only are businesses starting to thrive again, the state’s housing market has “exploded,” Thames said.
Carol Christiansen, president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors, credited Lamont with maintaining real estate transactions throughout the pandemic, a move that she says has contributed to an increase in real estate sales of between 18% and 20% in the past 12 months.
“No one would ever have guessed that 2020 would be the busiest real estate market for over a decade,” Christiansen said.
With people spending a lot more time at home due to the pandemic, she said many are realizing their homes are not ideal, leading to increased sales of new homes in the state.
“Currently we have more buyers than homes for sale,” Christiansen said, adding that those looking to sell their homes also have a unique opportunity. “Now is a great time to sell in Connecticut. “
Likewise, Joanne Breen, the immediate outgoing president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors which has been in the business for more than four decades, said the Greater Hartford area has seen an estimated 30% drop in inventory and an increase. of about 6% of pending sales. compared to the same period last year.
Due to the demand for homes, she said, homes coming onto the market are selling with multiple bids and prices have gone up 15%.
“These are all indications of a very strong market going forward,” Breen said.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the renewed enthusiasm is due to the quality of life that exists in the state, a lower cost to do business compared to New York or Boston, and a hand – talented and available work.
Alexander, who has been in and out of Bradley International Airport at Windsor Locks since the 1980s, said the pandemic presented challenges, but he sees an opportunity.
“We pivot and pull when the going gets tough,” he said.
Bronin said he was concerned about vacancies in the city’s large office buildings, but Lamont added that there could be a shift from a single large company with thousands of employees to many small ones. companies with fewer employees.
Lamont said people were starting to “rediscover the Connecticut lifestyle.”
“I think our economy is a bit like a coil spring,” he said, adding that trends were starting to look promising before the pandemic first hit the state.
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