How School Reopenings Affects Real Estate Markets

Performance Property Real Estate Question

Q: I’m a realtor. Everyone is talking about whether schools will reopen fully this fall because of the Coronavirus shutdowns. Many of my buyers in the past have tried to time their closing so their kids don’t have to switch schools mid-year. Will the school re-openings affect home buying activity this fall? Christina, Summit, NJ

A: COVID-19 has disrupted traditional home buying seasonality in a major way. Traditionally, the Spring has the highest home buyer demand as families as you pointed out often try to close on the homes they buy during the summer before the school year begins. The pandemic lockdown in the spring postponed the usually strong spring home buying market and the confusion around school reopenings may affect home buying behavior not just this fall but for the next year or two as well. If your kids may not be attending school in person in the fall then there is less of an imperative to finalize a home purchase by the end of the summer. The pandemic has changed many things within our society—for example, more people are working from home both for safety reasons and in many cases to take care of kids who are no longer going to school. Much of the country pre-maturely re-opened businesses and schools before the coronavirus was under control and then were then forced to shut down again to control the spread of COVID-19. This cycle of opening and then closing as the virus spreads and recedes increases instability and I suspect that home buying behavior will be much less seasonal and more consistent throughout the year for a while as home buyers and their families have to manage all aspects of their lives through the pandemic. Thanks for your question, Christina.

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