Molly Peters is a Los Angeles-based fine art and documentary photographer currently available for assignment. She earned her BA in Photography and Italian Studies at Bard College in 2010, and her MFA in Photography from the Hartford Art School in...
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All potential buyers had to be approved in advance, and roughly 40 homes were released for purchase all at once. The first people began lining up around noon the day before the release, which meant waiting 22 hours overnight, during a record-breaking heatwave, to hopefully purchase their preferred model of home in the morning when they began accepting buyers at 10am. It was the first time that people lined up overnight for the homes, pointing to their popularity and demand for new houses, even during a pandemic.
Many prospective buyers commented that they hadn’t planned to spend the night, and instead had driven by the afternoon or evening before to take one last look at the neighborhood and model homes. When they arrived and saw people already lining up, they stopped and stayed the night to guarantee their own spot in line. Buyers at the end of the line arrived 4-5 hours before the release. A strange camaraderie developed among those waiting in line; though they were competitors for the same homes, they are all also future neighbors. When those who purchased homes move into their new houses in early 2021, they will live in the same section of the development.
Rebecca waits inside the Landsea office. She and her husband, Jason, were trying for the second time to procure a home in the ShadeTree development. Just before 10am, four families at a time were allowed into the offices to choose and finalize their purchases, starting a frenetic few hours of sales. Lots were shouted out as they sold, and the anxiety was palpable.
COVID-19 precautions were visible everywhere, as workers went to great lengths to provide a safe and sanitized environment for their clients. More people than usual were invited into the general office area to wait in the air conditioning as the heat outside got more oppressive, while Landsea employees tried to keep people distanced from one another and disinfect thoroughly any time people changed places.
Donna helps Jason and Rebecca with their paperwork to purchase their home. In addition to the required masks and sanitizing procedures, plexiglass shields stood between sales counselors and their clients.
John and his wife Jean were one of the couples near the front of the line. John works as a counselor for veterans and had struck up a friendship with the couple in line behind them, as the husband was an ex-Marine.
A single dress hangs in the closet of a model home at ShadeTree. Model homes are available for viewing during open hours, preferably by appointment but walk-ins are occasionally allowed. Masks are required, and only one family is allowed inside a home at a time, in an effort to keep distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeffrey is a real estate agent waiting in line on behalf of one of his clients. He was near the end of the line, even though he arrived hours early, not realizing that people would start lining up the day before.
As part of a larger flood of people rushing to purchase homes in California's Inland Empire, prospective buyers lined up overnight during a record-breaking heatwave in Ontario, CA, for a chance to purchase a home in the ShadeTree development by Landsea Homes, one of many developments in the region. Despite 108 degree temperatures and worries of exposure to the coronavirus, those waiting in line felt the temporary discomfort was worthwhile for the tradeoff. Among other things, they cited being attracted by low mortgage interest rates, the development's amenities, which include a dog park, and the size and design customizations available. As the day went on, a buying frenzy ensued. By mid-afternoon, everyone who waited had either purchased a home or decided to wait for the next phase, if they weren't able to get their first choice(s). Almost immediately, new couples and families began arriving to view the model homes, beginning the next phase of the cycle.
Shot on assignment for Bloomberg Businessweek, view the full story here.