In the last few months, the world has had to adapt to the onslaught of changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Undoubtedly, real estate stands as one of the most affected industries, as homeowners across America have had to swiftly adjust to stay-at-home orders. In the midst of this pandemic, homes have become more than just a safe haven, turning into de facto classrooms and remote offices all in one.
Reconfiguring living spaces is just one of many profound shifts now occurring in real estate. How else has COVID-19 changed the industry and how will it reshape itself for the future?
More to the point, how will home buyers, home sellers, or real estate investors navigate this new world?
A temporary decline in the Florida real estate market
COVID-19’s consequent economic fallout has disrupted Florida’s real estate market. Spooked by the shutdown of businesses, buyers have held off on closing on homes, and owners who had planned to sell pre-pandemic have decided to stay put for the time being.
As such, Florida Realtors have noticed that, since March, home sales in the state have declined by around 30-40% compared to the numbers from 2019. This has resulted in historically low mortgage rates, as, according to the mortgage loan company Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a standard 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45% in March – a significant decrease from the 4.27% average from last year in the same month.
Fortunately, these low rates should come as good news, encouraging buyers to invest in real estate during this period. Veteran real estate advisors also see a rebound in the housing market, as they expect extended stay-at-home orders to result in more couples filing for divorce and needing separate places to live.
These factors, paired with the backed-up demand from before the pandemic, should lead to the market bouncing back very shortly.
A shift to digital for the home buying and selling process
With traditional home buying and selling processes compromised by pandemic protocols, how will the real estate industry work around the new limitations?
Already, real estate players are turning to digital technology for answers. Virtual tours have replaced in-person showings. Florida has enabled Remote Online Notarization (RON) since January 1, long before lockdowns were in place. RON allows banks, title companies, and other businesses to complete transactions that require signatures and a notary seal by way of online audio and video technology. The ability to close remotely, along with record low mortgage rates, are emboldening buyers to “race the virus” by investing in real estate.
Designing the home of the future
Developers, Realtors, and architects need to future-proof real estate projects by re-evaluating what the consumer is likely to demand post-pandemic.
Florida has always been on the forefront of luxury homes featuring open plan layouts that favor open and interactive spaces. However, buyers are now understandably more interested in privacy and distance, as well as properties equipped with tech innovations that allow for no-contact services as well as remote work.
If you’re interested in investing in the Florida housing market, inquire now. Contact us at Connie Cabral Group, a Certified Luxury Property Specialist. We can help you find the best real estate in the area! Give us a call at 305.776.0899 or email us at connie(at)conniecabral(dotted)com.