(New York Post) The coronavirus crisis is changing daily life around the globe in dramatic ways — and homeowners and buyers are thinking about how they might make changes, too, to their properties, to be better prepared for disaster scenarios.
Survivalist prepping is nothing new for many high-net-worth individuals. Wealthy homeowners have long been outfitting their apartments and houses with panic rooms, complete with bars, TVs, and upscale furnishings, to have an opulent retreat in the event of a break-in or other crisis.
For example, even before the outbreak of coronavirus, many Silicon Valley billionaires had been setting their sights on New Zealand, which they value for its stability and remote location. Peter Thiel, for instance, who is known for his interest in survivalism, has a $4.8 million home in Queenstown, complete with a panic room; he has said New Zealand is “the future” and has citizenship in the country.
And now, amid panic over the spread of COVID-19 as millions quarantine out of precaution or government mandate, investing with preparations for disaster in mind seems smarter than ever.
Two weeks ago, “it was like escape from New York — people were fleeing the city,” said Matthew Breitenbach, a broker with Compass in the Hamptons on Long Island. “It was intense. I’m surprised about the way people react within a crisis.”
Some investors are showing an increased interest in purchasing large, isolated properties to use as primary or vacation homes.
“There’s a large demand for bigger properties that are more isolated, more like compounds,” Breitenbach said. “People want homes that are gated and private.”