by Mindi Rudan
Why the trek to Florida hasn’t REALLY slowed- What YOU need to know NOW!
Growing up, I remember there was kind of a rude joke calling Florida “God’s waiting room.” In my grandparents day that might have been the case. Lured by crisp blue skies, nearly perfect year-round weather, limitless golf courses, low cost of living, no income tax, world renown beaches, and let’s not forget “early bird specials,” Florida was a relocation dream.
I remember when Hank and I chose Florida more than 30 years ago. We uprooted our life to move to south Florida initially to be close to my parents when my dad was given a dire health diagnosis. MY PARENTS had retired here, SOLD the house, bought a condo on a golf course and came to enjoy their “golden” years like all their new friends and neighbors who had done exactly the same thing.
We wanted to be close to them, to make sure we got in all we could with my dad, and to be here for my mom when needed, but never did we think we’d find a life here, let alone a life we loved enough to stay over 30 years.
And apparently we weren’t alone then …OR now. People from all over the world are still looking to buy a piece of the “rock” in the Sunshine State. In just the past year alone, Florida gained more than 200,000 new residents, according to the latest census data. And as of February 2023, FLORIDA, yes FLORIDA became the fastest growing state in the nation. According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors, the Sunshine State saw the highest net domestic migration gains last year, with its population growing by 1.9 percent.
Originally just a mecca for retirees: more than 3.5 million baby boomers “retired” here in recent years to enjoy this palm-infused, Margaritaville-like paradise. Back “home” in colder climate states, many felt trapped by inclement weather 5/6 months of the year especially in winter. Snow, ice and freezing temperatures made “getting out” and enjoying their later years, difficult. In Florida save for the occasional (him or) hurricane, weather rarely prohibits the living of life and the QUALITY of said life is kinda hard to beat.
The mass influx in the last few years fueled undoubtedly by the pandemic when big cities became ghost towns, families too seemed to have discover the wonders of the sunshine state. Especially now when employers realized their workers COULD be as efficient at their jobs via Zoom and working remotely, even if they were in pajamas all day.
But as home prices increase by double digits across the state, rents too skyrocketed increasing the demand for housing here even more.
Add in a friendly business environment (low taxes, great job opportunities and light regulatory and business-friendly government), it’s really no wonder even foreign buyers are flocking to Florida for primary and secondary homes.
Although that’s genuinely nothing new, the Sunshine State has long attracted international homebuyers as well as companies seeking new locations with its strong growth potential and global access. Our ports, airport access and waterways make Florida a compelling place to start or relocate a company. In fact, a Florida Realtors 2022 Profile of International Residential Transactions in Florida found that foreign buyers of existing homes accounted for $15.3 billion in home sales in the 12-month period from August 2021 through July 2022. That’s a 5% share of ALL existing home purchases in Florida during that period accounting for 6% of the dollar volume total. Noting that foreign buyers tend to spend more than the typical Florida homebuyer. Nothing to sneeze at! And still a lot to get excited over.
(BTW, in case you were wondering: Canadians took the top spot on Florida’s foreign buyers list in 2022, accounting for $1.7 billion, followed by Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and the United Kingdom).
So in essence it’s not just our summers that are hot! It’s our real estate too.
So what does that mean for the seller who thinks they “missed” the high of the Pandemic-fueled buying frenzy??
According to Realtor Joy Carter, of Great Florida Homes, “The most important thing people — both buyers AND sellers — need to know is that markets are driven by supply and demand. When supply is high and demand is low, prices go down. When supply is low and demand is high, prices go up. While the Pandemic-fueled buyer “frenzy” ended when interest rates started to climb back in June of 2022, loosely translated that means if inventory is low, which it is right now in May 2023, people will still pay over asking when they want a home, or they wave appraisals or inspection periods to make “deals” work. And let’s not overlook the fact that many families still come here with all cash, having sold more expensive homes in their home state, and excited by the comparative value they now find here.”
That’s essentially what led to the craziness we saw in the market in 2021. A ton of people wanted to buy a house, but there weren’t a whole lot of houses for sale.
So, prices skyrocketed.
And just because you don’t hear on the news that home prices are still soaring into the stratosphere, doesn’t mean you can’t get a good price for your home.
“It still all depends on supply and demand, PLUS the condition, amenities and how well YOUR home shows,” reiterated Carter who along with partners Jeff Booker, her brother, and daughter Tara Carter make up Great Florida Homes, part of the Keller Williams Company, together they have over 35 years combined Real Estate experience.
“But keep in mind,” added Carter, “that the supply IS increasing, the growth of house prices across the nation is much slower than in 2021 & 2022 and will probably stay that way—at least for a while. I don’t see a big pendulum swing coming in one direction or the other.”
Here’s what buyers AND SELLERS need to remember: that no one should decide to sell or buy a house (or not) based solely on the state of the housing market alone. Market conditions are a guideline for sure—but they’re not the tell all. Your personal situation needs to be paramount. “The best time to sell or buy a house is when the market and your individual situation line up.”
But here’s a caveat that Carter points out: “It’s always a good time to buy because all ships rise and lower on the same tide. Meaning if you sell up, you generally are buying up if you sell down, you generally are buying down too.” Kind of a wash either way.
And as for ‘time of year’ being a piece of the buying or selling puzzle, Carter added, “As for historical time periods such as in the northeast, winter tends to slow things down for that market. While the Florida real estate market, especially in this area is always good except maybe three times a year: two weeks before school gets out, two weeks before school starts and when the Jewish and Christian holidays collide.” So save for a few caveats buying or selling should be about what’s best for YOU.
If you ARE thinking of buying or selling anytime soon, the biggest assist can and should be a truly knowledgeable Realtor who GUIDES and advises you. You wouldn’t jump into the deep end of the pool if you don’t know how to swim. Successfully navigating the nuances of a volatile real estate market takes experience and expertise.
But having said all that, the real estate market in the state of Florida?
Well hot is HOT and that’s NOT just because summer is coming!!
Mindi Rudan is a writer, former publisher of PARKLAND / CORAL SPRINGS Life, Coconut Creek Life andBOCA Delray Life magazines, a pet mom, event planner and now crazy wreath maker. You can follow her on FB https://www.facebook.com/mindi.rudan?mibextid=LQQJ4d
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