The coronavirus pandemic has affected every industry, including real estate. As a whole, the real estate industry has seen a decline. However, some areas of the country have been more affected by the virus than others. Unlike many other states, Florida may have a real estate market that bounces back. Find out why the Florida real estate market is strong in pandemic times.
The Effect of the Virus on Real Estate
Since the coronavirus started spreading across the country, people began experiencing financial difficulties. Small business owners weren’t the only ones affected by the virus. As the world came to a halt and companies laid off workers, people found themselves struggling to pay the bills. Even those who kept their jobs struggled with pay cuts and a need for babysitting services.
With such severe economic implications, coronavirus has had an impact on real estate. Across the nation, realtors noticed a change for the worse. Fewer people wanted to buy homes, and the market slowed.
Florida Real Estate in Pandemic Times
While Florida real estate was not untouched by the virus, it was less affected than other states and is showing signs of a bounce-back. Coastal areas, like St. Petersburg, are still thriving. According to St. Petersburg realtor Olympia Hiotis with Smith & Associates, local real estate “has not affected property from being bought and sold.” Although the virus initially changed the way realtors did showings, people still wanted to buy homes.
Tracie Mayo from Savvy Mortgage in St. Petersburg agrees. “My business is busier than ever. We’re finding it difficult to keep up with pre-approvals, but we’re making it happen!”
In Orlando, there’s a similar trend. Despite a slide in the number of new listings and homes at the start of the pandemic, the city is now seeing an improvement in metrics. Home sales dropped 44.1% from May 2019 to May 2020, but things are now looking up.
So why is it that Florida can recover so quickly from such a devastating blow? There are a few possible reasons for this. All of the following reasons could contribute to the resilience of the local economy:
1. Outdoor Living
Like most viruses, from what we’ve all read and heard, the coronavirus doesn’t spread as easily outdoors. Although there’s no place that’s truly safe from the virus, the outdoors is safer than a cramped grocery store. The virus made people appreciate the value of outdoor living.
If there’s one thing that Florida has, it’s outdoor living. While people were stuck inside in Northern states, Floridians were out in their backyards enjoying sunshine. Quarantining made people realize how nice it is to live in a warm climate and to have outdoor living space. Florida also has more outdoor dining options and things to do. This has helped Florida real estate in pandemic times.
2. Access to Water
Since the start of the virus, many people took to the water to socially distance themselves. Boating is one way to enjoy life without getting too close to other people. As a result, boat sales increased. People who never saw much value in owning a boat suddenly jumped at the chance to get out and away from everyone.
As boats became more popular, so did living close to the water. The demand for properties near beaches, canals, and lakes is strong. Although many states are landlocked and have limited access to waterways, Florida has ample access to waterways. Places like St. Petersburg have the boating and kayaking access that people want.
Even people without boats enjoy living by water. And for those who love water, but don’t need to live on the water, homes with pools are popular. According to Oasis Pavers and Pools, new pool sales are the highest they’ve ever been.
3. Virtual Offices
When people began working from home during COVID, living spaces felt smaller. Especially for people living in cities like New York and DC. The once comfy studio apartment or condo quickly became a claustrophobic prison. Not only did people begin craving more outdoor space but indoor space also became a priority – especially space for a home office.
As companies began requiring that employees work from home, they realized the cost savings of this new business structure. Many companies are now providing employees the flexibility to live wherever they want. As a result, buying bigger, or relocating to a place where money goes further, has become a common trend. This trend is also helping Florida real estate in pandemic times.
Florida offers more space for a better value than many northern cities, making it an ideal place to relocate. Who wouldn’t want to work and live in a tropical vacation climate?
4. People Most Affected Are Renters
The Florida economy relies heavily on tourism. Unfortunately, the tourism industry took a huge hit in May and June. The people in Florida most affected by the virus are those who worked in the tourism industry.
So why didn’t this impact the real estate market? The majority of tourism workers rent their residences. Therefore, they weren’t interested in buying homes in the first place. People in other industries who wanted to buy property had fewer financial struggles after covid.
What the Future Holds for Florida Real Estate
This is a time of uncertainty. No one is sure how long the pandemic will last. However, Florida real estate in pandemic times has endured the initial hit and is bouncing back.
The luxury real estate market in Florida has taken a hit. But houses under $500,000 are in high demand. Currently, the market is a seller’s market. There are more buyers than sellers, which can make it difficult for those who want to purchase a home. Hiotis said, “You really need your ducks in a row to buy a home.”
Even if the pandemic sticks around, it’s likely that Florida will continue to attract more interested buyers. It’s a hard place to resist. St. Petersburg itself has so much to offer, so it should come as no surprise that it’s still a popular destination.
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