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COVID-19 DAYS Dateline: November/December 2020
Food, clothing & shelter remain the big three of survival. Winter sets in - amidst the triage of presidential elections, challenging mental health issues, hunger and loss of job or physical contact – and we have a dire shortage of food & shelter for many here in the Delaware Valley. As a Realtor & landlord of 35 years, shelter is in my wheelhouse.
TENANTS: Frustrations mount. On July 9th Governor Tom Wolf signed a new executive order that protects homeowners and renters from eviction or foreclosure until Aug. 31, if they have not received assistance from the PA CARES program administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) or are not already receiving relief through one of several federal foreclosure moratorium programs or judicial orders. Once this moratorium was lifted, many families and individuals found themselves choosing life in compromised locations – cramped or unhealthy living quarters. Rentals continue to remain in high demand across the full spectrum of the economic board; from single room only to luxury & temporary rentals. There is a dire shortage of good-quality rental units, whether apartments, townhouses or detached houses.
LANDLORDS: This has been a rocky road with considerable losses for many landlords, due to moratoriums on rental payments and job loss. New research by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies shows half of all renters are cost-burdened, meaning that they spend more than the recommended guideline of 30 percent on housing — the latest indicator to point to a growing housing affordability crisis in the U.S., particularly among renter households. In spite of these losses, studio rentals in Philadelphia, for example, are up 12.1% from Oct 1, 2019-2020.
HOMEOWNERS: The good news: The Wall Street Journal reports that 65% of people have made an effort to be more friendly than usual. Further, 57% say their neighbors have helped to fill the void of visiting with friends and family during the pandemic. More than half also said they’ve had at least one socially distanced gathering with neighbors.
The news is bad for Buyers, good for Sellers: How fast property values are rising. From June 20, 2020 until November 14, 2020, house values increased a whopping 16.2% in the Delaware Valley (Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington). As “home” has taken front and center during this pandemic, there have been newly created demands and trends. Individuals & families need room for home offices due to changes in work and school. About 40% of US workers are able to work from home. Add to this, the number of families with school age children needing study/computer space. The typical three bedroom house now must have another room - whether converting the garage or basement into work area, converting the covered patio into a work space or building an addition. Those not able to do this are adding to the already exploding number of typical Buyers in the marketplace (1st-timers, move-ups & downsizers). Multiple offers above asking price went from rare to typical, as today’s record low interest rates have furthered demand.
Now more than ever, Buyers & Sellers stand to benefit from a good, experienced Realtor like one from the Neil Kugelman Team.