We are now about 5 months into the Covid-19 pandemic affecting our daily lives here in Northeast Florida. There is seemingly no part of our lives that the crisis has not touched and real estate is no exception. With a little bit of time now having passed since the shutdowns and reopenings, I’m often being asked “What has changed in real estate?”
There are a combination of factors that have sharply affected the real estate market in the past few months, along with an attitude and preference change for home buyers. Buyers and sellers are re-thinking what they want out of a home and what it is going to take to sell their current home. Let’s discuss a few of the prominent trends going on right now in Northeast Florida.
- Prices keep going up – We were already seeing great value growth in real estate prior to the pandemic and that has surged even stronger in the past few months. The contributing factors are less inventory and super-low interest rates. Fewer homes have been put on the market due to homeowners’ fears of letting people into their homes for showings and contracting the virus. And with interest rates at all-time lows buyers are out in force to take advantage of this great time to buy with low rates. These two factors together have led to homes selling very quickly (some sight unseen) and prices rising as competition heats up.
- Improvements in how your home is marketed – Now more than ever having a great online marketing presence is important. Buyers want to feel confident about viewing a home prior to scheduling the appointment and sellers want serious buyers before letting them in the house. So now it is extremely important to have great photos and videos of your home. Strong descriptions of the home along with a list of the features your home provides that can’t be seen in the photos are crucial. Your home needs to stand out and show well online right away. For sale by owner sellers are really struggling right now as their marketing tends to not be as good and widespread leading to less buyer activity.
- Change in buyer preferences – Every day Realtors are tracking and learning what buyers want to see in their homes. Trends change regularly but tend to happen slowly over time. With Covid-19 the trend change has been accelerated. Buyers are now looking for homes with an office or extra bedroom that could be converted into an office. As more people are being allowed to work from home a dedicated space is needed to create a productive environment. Also, outside space and amenities have been coming at a premium. Such as pools, covered patios, and outside entertaining areas. Any feature that allows the homeowner to stay at home and enjoy their time has been prioritized.
- New homes are more desirable – Doubling down on the theme of the change in buyer’s preferences is the trend to a desire for more new homes. With more at-home activities for the foreseeable future buyers want to be able to customize or alter their homes to include the office or outdoor space they desire. This has led to an increase in the average new home size. Buyers for new homes also tend to be younger and more environmentally conscious. They want the energy-efficient features and low utility bills that new homes offer. Also, these new home communities tend to have amenities such as community swimming pools, playgrounds, nature trails, and much more. This allows homeowners not to have to travel far or risk large exposures when seeking outdoor entertainment.
- More people moving to the suburbs or exurbs – With the trend of people being able to work from home increasing more and more buyers are willing to search farther and farther out from city centers. Many employers now allow their workers to either work entirely from home or only come in once a week. This has made long commutes easier to swallow for home buyers as they search for a new home. More affordable options and larger lot sizes tend to accompany these homes that are farther out.
In the real estate business, the only constant is change. As Realtors, we are constantly adapting to what is happening in our local market and how best to serve our customers. For more insight or to talk about your home goals feel free to reach out! We look forward to helping you.