Overcrowded Schools, New Home Construction, and Existing Inventory

It's being reported that school overcrowding "threatens" a moratorium on construction of new homes in Chapel Hill and/or Orange County. Meanwhile, the number of "for sale" signs for existing homes in our neighborhoods are proliferating, as old listings languish and new listings appear.

I was unable to find (after an admittedly quick search) current stats for the number of houses on sale in the various school districts or for the average time a house sits on the market -- probably not numbers that local realtors consider very happy. (Did find reference to an approx. 9% vacancy rate for Chapel Hill, but not certain what that includes -- commercial? residential? both?)

However, it doesn't take a lot of scrutiny to know that there are an unprecedented number of existing houses for sale -- far more than are likely to be built new in the next year, I'd bet. And in the likely event that every one of those houses -- or even half of them -- were sold to families with children by September, the schools would have a difficult time accommodating them.

So why is there new construction at all? Perhaps developers are savvy enough to know that there's a goodly market for those who want or need to downsize. Perhaps there's a push to provide affordable housing instead of sprouting yet more authorized McMansions to join the others standing empty around the county.

This is more speculation than declaration on my part, and I'd welcome any information about exactly how much existing-home inventory there currently is -- how many for sale? how long are they taking to sell? how do they relate to school populations? It probably won't be a happy picture, but I'd also welcome comments about how those questions fit in to discussions about school populations and new construction.

So far, the state of the 2011 real estate market hasn't seemed to be part of the housing construction vs. overcrowding planning discussion.


According to Dave Hart's front-page article in the Chapel Hill News, "a total of 1,069 homes were listed for sale in the county as of July 10," roughly an "11 month supply."  http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2011/08/10/66135/home-sales-take-a-slight-...

The enrollment in CHCCS was 11,985 at the opening of school last week, nearly 300 more students than enrolled at this time last year. We will get the breakdown by level (elementary schools were most overcrowded last year) latter.    http://www2.chccs.k12.nc.us/education/components/board/default.php?secti...


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