A year after the start of the pandemic, the Bay Area housing market continues to defy expectations, especially in the East Bay.
The Bay East Association of Realtors told NBC Bay Area a number of people are leaving San Francisco and moving to the Tri Valley and other parts of the East Bay.
Before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the trend was people moving from San Jose or the Peninsula for bigger, less expensive homes in the East Bay. Experts say that has changed during the pandemic, based on anecdotal evidence, since they don’t formally track that kind of information.
But the San Francisco Chronicle recently analyzed United States Postal Service change of address forms and found that Alameda County was the top destination in California for people moving out of the city.
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Many people moved to San Francisco to be close to work as well as to cultural amenities such as bars and nightclubs, which shut down during the pandemic.
"And so you’re looking at alternatives, where you can’t out to a nightclub, can’t go out to a bar," said David Stark of the Bay East Association of Realtors. "Gosh, I’m paying a whole bunch of money in rent. Maybe I can do something different. Maybe I can take that money and enjoy home ownership in a home that allows me to work from home."
Tina Hand, also with Bay East, added: "There has been a lot of movement. People have a desire to move out into open space. Larger homes, more bedrooms, more bathrooms."
With interest rates still low, the association says it is seeing record prices, record sales activity and record low number of days on market, a signal that COVID-19 hasn’t affected everyone equally. People in professions such as tech that allow for remote work at home have done well during the pandemic, whereas those in front-line professions like restaurant and retail have not.