With many less-strict COVID restrictions seen throughout the state and an entire lake to enjoy, the Ozarks have seen an unprecedented real-estate sales boom in 2020. However, at least for now, school district Superintendents are unsure as to whether or not this will translate into increased student enrollment.

With many less-strict COVID restrictions seen throughout the state and an entire lake to enjoy, the Ozarks have seen an unprecedented real-estate sales boom in 2020. However, at least for now, school district Superintendents are unsure as to whether or not this will translate into increased student enrollment.

Cindy Imhoff, Executive Vice President of the Bagnell Dam Association of REALTORS, shared some figures on exactly what kind of sales the lake has seen in real estate over the last four years (looking at the months of January to June in each respective year). In total sales, 2020 has so far topped all four years with 1,600 sales bringing in a volume of $371,100,581. This is $51,463,673 more than the same timeframe in 2019, which yielded $319,636,908.

Even more telling, the only area of lake real estate sales that have gone down in both number of transactions and volume of sales is in homes worth over a million dollars (7% decrease in transactions, 13% decrease in volume of sales). This points directly to a trend in more residential, affordable housing being scooped up by those looking to move to the lake. With a 17% increase in transactions in Residential, villas and townhomes on the waterfront, as well as a 5% increase in transactions in residential, villas and townhomes offshore, the affordable market is seeing a dramatic increase.

Imhoff says the Bagnell Dam Association of REALTORS does not keep a log of what kinds of families or individuals are moving into these properties, so the exact demographic increase being seen alongside the real estate boom is unknown. Even so, with more people moving to the lake of any demographic, the chances of more students also being relocated also increases. And with the school year ahead being as uncertain as any, this may ring some alarm bells for school districts looking to house these students in their hallways.

Currently, the question of student population increase is not certain by the school districts of the lake. Camdenton R-III Superintendent Tim Hadfield says that while the school district is still enrolling students for the year ahead, they have also seen parents deciding to either homeschool this year due to the pandemic or leave the district entirely. With school starting next week, he says the official numbers of enrollment won’t be certain until day one.

In Eldon, Superintendent Matt Davis was more certain that their number would not see an increase. He says that numbers are looking normal at this point, though the district will be able to better determine any growth by September.

“In our school district, we don't have second homes like other lake area schools so I don't see us really having a large increase in enrollment,” Davis said.

The only other Superintendent to respond was Morgan County R-II Superintendent Steven Barnes, who confirmed that they too are not seeing an increase in enrollment at this time, though like the other districts, that may change in the coming month.

For now, it seems the housing boom has not impacted lake schools, though as the pandemic continues and the uncertainty of in-person classes persists, this may change very quickly.