The pandemic is changing everything 

By ELIZABETH LEPRO
Posted 10/7/20

It’s 2020, we’re living in chaos. So permit me to crawl under the fourth wall and share some of my own musings about how this kind of sudden population influx could affect an area beyond …

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The pandemic is changing everything 

Posted

It’s 2020, we’re living in chaos. So permit me to crawl under the fourth wall and share some of my own musings about how this kind of sudden population influx could affect an area beyond the price of a four-bedroom estate.

I start most reporting with questions, and in this case, I have many: 

Any region with an economy at all reliant on vacationers is sure to already have some housing complications, especially when it’s more profitable for a property owner to turn their space into an Airbnb than to rent it out. This real estate market could be further detrimental to affordable housing in the area and the availability of rental properties at reasonable rates. Will local renters and buyers be further priced out?

It isn’t just homes that are selling, but land as well. Realtors told me we should be talking to local construction companies: Is the lumber available to build homes as quickly as people want them? 

Charles Petersheim, who builds second homes through his business Catskill Farms, told The Chronicle in May that he’s worn down by the nonstop interest. “Let’s just say it’s not a positive thing anymore, how many I see… A lot of these towns aren’t open for construction. Inventory is scarce, it’s getting scarcer, and buyers are increasing,” he said. 

Then, there’s the Upper Delaware/Poconos’ favorite chip-on-the-shoulder: Internet connectivity. It’s already one of the first assets potential buyers ask about. Sometimes, realtors have to answer with a shrug. Will this increase in work-from-homers motivate broadband companies to pick up the pace on getting us connected? 

This is also happening during the most contentious political season in recent history. If new homeowners register to vote with their new addresses, how will that swing the political readout of historically red counties?

The list goes on: Will certain schools need to grow? Will PA roads get more attention with more use? Will River Reporter’s subscription numbers rise? 

At the risk of sounding too much like the voiceover at the end of a soap opera, I’ll stop here. If these questions are on your mind, too, or if you have a relevant perspective to share, let’s talk. 

Are you a local business owner? Involved in local politics? Own a construction company? Renter, new homeowner, internet service provider, small-business owner? Let’s talk: Liz.lepro@gmail.com.

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