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KPBS Midday Edition

A Pause In San Diego Housing Market Price Increases May Be Temporary

A "For Sale" sign in front of a home in San Carlos in this undated photo.
KPBS Staff
A "For Sale" sign in front of a home in San Carlos in this undated photo.
COVID-19 has affected the housing market in some counterintuitive ways — prices of San Diego homes continued their upward climb for the most part during the quarantine. But recent figures suggest San Diego County home prices stalled last month.

San Diego home prices have continued their upward climb for most of the pandemic, but recent figures suggest they stalled last month. Phillip Molnar, real estate reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune, talks about the factors that led to the pause in price climbs and why analysts expect the cost increases to pick up again in the near future.

Only about 5,000 homes were available for sale in San Diego, presenting a very tight housing market, Molnar said. However, he said, the appearance of a vaccine could have a dramatic effect by encouraging homeowners to put their property back on the market. Real estate agents say many homeowners did not want potential buyers walking through their homes during the quarantine.

The landscape for renters could be improved if initiatives proposed by the president-elect, Joe Biden, are implemented: for example, proposals to increase money earmarked for Section 8 rental subsidies. Currently 16,000 San Diego families use Section 8 subsidized housing, Molnar said, but 80,000 more are on the waiting list. Much will depend on whether the Senate approves Biden’s proposals.

Molnar said another proposal would offer tax relief for families paying more than half of their income for rent, a situation that is all too common in California.

The cost of luxury homes has continued to rise slowly, Molnar said, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the growing gap between those who can afford to purchase a home and those who are still trying to find a foothold in the market.