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Military towns take extra hit from relocation pause

Typical spring and summer relocation seasons are on hold this year

military family

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the Pentagon’s extension on Saturday of the stop movement order to June 30.

Thousands of military families — and the real estate in towns surrounding U.S. military bases — are in limbo right now.

Each year around this time, a wave of active duty members with relocation orders start searching for houses and rentals, signing contracts and planning their summertime moves before school starts in the fall.

But this year to curtail the coronavirus spread, the Pentagon put a 60-day stop movement order in effect in March, freezing travel by all U.S. forces, civilian personnel and their families. Then on April 14, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that order will extend past the original May 11 date. On Saturday, the Pentagon extended the order to June 30.

That means all those with orders known as permanent change of station, or PCS, have to stay where they are until the order is lifted, not knowing when they can move to that next location. Several Realtors and lenders who specialize in Department of Veterans Affairs home loans told HousingWire that this thrusts another level of unpredictability into military families and cities from California to Florida, Texas to Virginia.

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