Schools Reopen with Distance Learning in the Midst of a Housing Crisis
“As seen in the Real Estate Reality Column in the San Leandro Times & Castro Valley Forum, written by Carl Medford”
With COVID-19 still a viable threat, Bay Area schools are opening in distance-learning mode only. Parents are scrambling to accommodate the new realities and hoping that things will go smoother than the end of the last school season. It is safe to say no one was prepared for the sudden changes foisted upon students and parents by the closing of schools, and considerable effort has been made by school officials on all levels to ensure that the student experience will be better as schools reopen.
While school districts are making efforts to improve their offerings, many parents are struggling to accommodate their children and still be effective in their own jobs. This is most difficult for families in smaller homes where it is much harder to provide private space conducive to learning. Some families, confronted by the difficulties, have actually been out looking for larger homes.
There could not be a worse time to do so: we are currently facing a critical shortage of homes as the available inventory of properties for sale is at a record low. Propelled by low interest rates and fear of getting priced out of the market, buyers are out in droves looking for homes that will meet their needs at a price they can afford.
Pickings are low. As of this writing, there are only 37 single family homes available in Castro Valley, a drop of 45.61% over same time last year. At 36 homes, San Leandro is showing a 29.27% reduction while San Lorenzo has only 13 available single-family properties, a reduction of 30.77%. Hayward has 71 homes currently, but also shows the largest drop in inventory from last year, coming in at a whopping reduction of 65.5%.**
This is not just a local phenomenon: home sales are soaring across the country as buyers, desperate to get their piece of the America pie while interest rates remain low, are breaking record-after-record. According to the National Association of Realtors, sales across the country jumped 24.7% from the previous month of June. Correspondingly, the national supply of homes dropped 21.1% year-over-year as inventory of available homes nationwide shrunk to 1.5 million properties at the end of July.* These astonishing numbers come on the heals of a 20.7% increase one month earlier in June.
With forecasters loudly declaring we are headed for a coronavirus-related recession, it appears the housing markets have not yet received the memo.
**Date from Trendgraphix.com
Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association.