The Florida Keys Real Estate News & Market Trends Blog
You’ll find our Florida Keys Real Estate Blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values, home buying and selling ideas and tips, to community happenings from Key Largo to Key West. That’s because we care about community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!
“Home price appreciation is difficult to forecast, but we expect home price growth to slow down from historic highs,” Chris Glynn, an economist at Zillow, tells Fortune.Zillow describes the housing market as transitioning from “white hot” to just “red hot.”
Why does Zillow expect home prices to continue rising? Glynn points to “demand still outpacing supply.”
That’s not all: The effects of COVID-19 on the housing market—recession-induced low mortgage rates coupled with the work-from-home trend allowing buyers to search deeper into the burbs—are still at play and driving the housing market forward. While inventory is rising again, it’s still well below pre-pandemic levels and simply unable to meet the current demand. Cue higher prices.
Young Snowbirds: The Pandemic Real Estate Trend We Didn’t See Coming
Aly J. Yale
Wed, September 29, 2021, 1:53 PM·7 min read
Snowbird buyers are no new thing. For decades, retirees have opted for the seasonal lifestyle, buying homes in opposite climates and clearing out when the weather gets too cold (or too hot) for comfort.
Some use the arrangement to be near grandkids in the summertime. Others use it to qualify as full-time residents in states with no income taxes (hello, Florida!). While those buyers certainly still exist, a much younger breed of snowbird has started to emerge — one that, according to agents, is largely borne of the pandemic and the remote work it’s allowed.
“Snowbirds used to be synonymous with retirees,” says Minette Schwartz, an agent with Compass in Miami. “But now, young professionals are migrating during the winter too.”
A new kind of snowbird
According to real estate agents, there’s been a notable uptick in younger, seasonal homebuyers since the pandemic ushered in flexible work arrangements (and other major lifestyle changes) over a year ago. In Miami, Schwartz estimates they make up about 25% of the market’s total selling and buying activity.
These new buyers come in many forms, but mostly, real estate agents say they’re young professionals in their 30s and 40s. Some have kids and pets. The majority work remotely or own businesses. The main thing they have in common? They’re looking to split their time between two climates — steering clear of the harsh, snowy winters in the north or, in the case of so-called “sunbirds,” the sweltering, 100-degree summers of the south.
Either way, it’s a big change from what agents have seen in the past — when snowbirds were nearly always retired.
“For most of my career, the person who wanted that second place to live — usually chasing better weather, was retired and an empty nester,” says Trenton Hogg, a Redfin agent in Chanhassen, Minnesota — Money’s Best Places to Live this year. Chanhassen and the greater Minneapolis area has seen its fair share of young sunbirds lately, many coming from warmer states, like Arizona and Florida, in the summer months.
Romeo and Jama Filip are one example of this sunbird phenomenon. While the pair might not have moved to Chanhassen, they did buy a second home in mountainous Show Low, Arizona last September.
Far from retired (they’re 38 and 44), the Filips now split their time between Show Low and their original property just outside of Phoenix. Though Show Low is a mere three hours north, it offers a much-needed escape from the heat. In September, Phoenix’s average temperature is a whopping 100. In Show Low? It’s just 78. The two plan to spend the bulk of their summers in their new home, managing their business from afar while waiting out the heat.
“Everyone knows that Arizona is hot in the summer,” says Romeo, who along with his wife, owns a custom foam packaging company called Battle Foam. “The past few summers have seemed even hotter. Being able to drive north for a couple hours and completely change the environment and temperature was a big part of our decision to buy.”
More than just weather
While younger snowbirds are certainly taking the same season-seeking approach that older snowbirds have always clung to, agents say what’s driving them — and how they make it work — is actually quite unique.
For one, remote work’s on the table. In years past, young Americans have been tied to their offices, with proximity to work and commute times a major factor in their housing decisions. Now, there’s a lot more freedom in where today’s buyers can conduct business and move.
Pew Research Center data shows that more than half of workers who can perform their jobs from home would prefer to do so once the pandemic ends. In some industries the switch to remote work could be even more dramatic. According to a recent survey of startup CEOs from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, a quarter of businesses plan to remain completely remote moving forward. Another 67% will adopt a hybrid model, requiring just occasional in-office work.
“With remote work still in play, buyers are finding more flexibility,” says Eduardo Pruna, sales director for Giralda Place, a luxury condo project in Coral Gables, Florida. “All you need is a laptop and strong Wi-Fi.”
Pruna says Giralda Place has seen a “noticeable” increase in non-retired snowbirds in just the last 90 days. Most have other homes in cold urban centers, like Chicago and New York.
Though Pruna says buyers in Giralda Place tend to be sans children, that’s not the case for other parts of the country. Hogg, for example, has seen a good number of snowbirds with young kids — something he attributes to virtual school options and increased homeschooling. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, homeschooling more than doubled during the pandemic, with 11% of parents choosing to homeschool their children versus 5% in early 2020.
“I have been struck by younger snowbirds with their chicks still in the nest,” Hogg says. “I’m seeing people who are not sure their kids will always be going into physical schools, so these new snowbirds can easily be much younger and with a family in tow.”
Beyond newfound flexibility, the pandemic itself — and all the limitations it’s come with — has also pushed some younger Americans toward the snowbirding lifestyle.
“The COVID nonsense was the final nail that pushed us forward,” Romeo Filip says, explaining that escaping the heat was a nice perk, but not the only reason they bought a second home during the pandemic. “We felt that having a second home as an escape plan was so much more important as restrictions took hold of the country. In a small town like Show Low, the rules seemed a bit more relaxed. We felt we could make our own decision on how to stay safe from COVID.”
The Filips aren’t alone either. Pruna says many young snowbirds in his area took the same approach last year, heading to Florida where restrictions were lighter and things felt a little more free.
“South Florida, in particular, was early to resume normal economic and business operations,” Pruna says. “It drew many people from states with ongoing restrictions.”
Every Saturday, Money real estate editor Sam Sharf dives deep into the world of real estate, offering a fresh take on the latest housing news for homeowners, buyers and daydreamers alike.
Here to stay
Whatever the reason these young snowbirds are cropping up, it seems they’re likely here to stay.
Torreon, the Show Low golf club community where the Filips now live, has seen an influx of pandemic-era home purchases — many from buyers taking this same snowbird/sunbird approach. Over a quarter of the community’s nearly 900 households bought in 2020 or later, more than half of its residents aren’t retired, and a whopping 83% live there only part-time (the majority don’t even golf!).
“We’ve had a dramatic increase in younger families and young professionals in the last year,” says Bryan Anderson, associate broker at Torreon Realty. “The ability to work remotely is what’s driving it for most of them.”
Developers have noticed the trend, too. District 225, a new condo project in Miami, is case in point. The recently launched development is specifically targeting younger, more migratory buyers, offering perks like fully furnished units, resort-style amenities and an entire floor dedicated to co-working space.
The biggest snowbird perk, though? That’d be District 225’s partnership with Airbnb, which allows residents to easily rent out their units while away from home.
“We’re seeing overwhelming demand from digital nomads, jet setters and snowbirds, and overall, a younger generation of buyers that no longer wants to be tied to one location,” says Eric Fordin, senior vice president of Related Group, District 225’s developer. “Homeowners get to enjoy life on their own terms.”
The pitch must be working. Sales for District 225 just opened three months ago, and 70% of its units are already bought out. It’s just further confirmation that America’s young snowbirds are likely here to stay — at least as long as remote work does.
As Hogg puts it, “Once people figure out they’re going to be allowed to stay working remotely or have only a day or two a week coming into the office, they’ll really start to think about where and how they want to live.”
Is a housing crash on the horizon? Eight experts weigh in on the possibility
Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, USA TODAY
·7 min read
Exuberant buying – with multiple offers and bidding wars – has become common across the country, reminisicent of the fevered market before the 2008 housing crash.
Home prices nationwide increased year-over-year by 18% in July 2021, the largest annual growth that CoreLogic Home Price Index has measured in its 45-year history.
That leads to the inevitable question: Will history repeat itself?
USA TODAY spoke to eight experts to find out if a housing crash is on the horizon.
The short answer? No.
For one, they say the housing market in 2021 is not like the boom-bust cycle leading up to the Great Recession.
In the years before 2008, mortgage lenders made subprime loans to borrowers without verified income or adequate down payments while pushing risky loan products. This time, tough loan underwriting standards are the norm even with rock-bottom interest rates.
On the supply side, a decade of underbuilding of homes, regulatory barriers, high construction costs combined with people staying longer in their homes have kept housing inventory low.
When it comes to demand, buyers’ desire for more space during the pandemic, low mortgage rates, rising savings, an improved labor market and millennials reaching their peak homebuying age have contributed to the tightening of the inventory.
But… home price growth will decelerate in the coming year, experts predict.
Stronger mortgage market
In the mortgage market of 2006, there was a proliferation of high credit risk mortgage products, while about one-third of all mortgages were low or no-documentation loans or subprime loans, says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic.
“It was a complete erosion and deterioration of credit underwriting standards in the economy, in the mortgage market,” he says. “The no-documentation loans were commonly referred to as liar loans because you'd lie about your income, you'd lie about your employment, you’d lie about your financial assets.”
This time around, it is completely different, he says.
“We have high-quality mortgage origination standards, and so we don't have mortgage finance fueling home price growth today," he said.
Forbearance programs and the housing market
One of the lifelines for homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic has been forbearance, an ability to skip or make smaller monthly payments on mortgages under the CARES Act.
That left homeowners with more cash for emergencies.
In May 2020, two months after the pandemic caused havoc in the economy, more than 4 million U.S. mortgages were in forbearance.
Currently, there are an estimated 1.6 million homeowners in forbearance plans, which will start winding down by the end of September, according to the Mortgage Brokers Association.
Given the strong housing market and price appreciation, banks are more likely to work with borrowers to restructure their loans.
Those who are not able to make the payments might decide to sell their homes and enter the rental market, says Jeff Taylor, managing partner at Mphasis Digital Risk, a technology and risk firm that consults with mortgage lenders.
“We are currently guesstimating about probably 8% to 10% will actually have to go through the foreclosure process,” he says. “And it’s going to be geographically spread out so it will not have a big impact on the housing market.”
To put that in perspective, more than 11 million mortgages entered the foreclosure process between 2008 and 2012 – which included the Great Recession – according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
“The pandemic caused much more economic damage to lower-wage earners than mid-and upper-tier salary types who tend to be homeowners more than renters,” says Jonathan Miller, a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut.
With a rapid runup in prices, homeowners have a record amount of equity at their disposal and unlike the mid-2000s, are not leveraged to the hilt, Miller says.
The most significant housing demographic patch ever recorded in history – roughly 32.5 million people between ages 27 to 33 – will be actively trying to buy homes through 2024, according to housing analyst Logan Mohtashami.
Indeed, homeowners nationwide are remaining in their homes longer than ever.
In 2020, a typical homeowner lived 13 years in a home, up from 8.7 years in 2010, and 6.4 years in 2005, respectively, according to Redfin, a full-service real estate brokerage.
The additional scrutiny of income and assets and the end of ‘silent seconds’ (a second mortgage placed on an asset for down payment funds that are not disclosed to the original mortgage lender) have been instrumental in establishing the ability to pay for homebuyers, says Benjamin Keys, a professor of real estate in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Default rates on mortgages were extremely low prior to the COVID programs put in place, and I expect that default rates will return to that level when the economy fully recovers,” he says.
Mortgage origination by credit score
“The higher income includes all of the stimulus money that has gone out over the last year that allowed people to put a little bit more money down to cover the closing and moving cost," Marr says.
Marr adds that he expects the strong demand to continue as more listings come on the market.
“It really will be just moving forward in a healthy direction where price growth is expected to slow down from double digits to single digits next year as mortgage rates rise,” he says. “But not so much where there's a correction in prices.”
Still facing a housing shortage
An underbuilt market is one of the factors helping sustain valuation in the hot housing market.
An analysis by housing giant Freddie Mac suggests that the housing shortage has increased 52% from 2.5 million in 2018 to 3.8 million in 2020.
“A lack of supply rather than credit-driven speculation is driving house price growth,” says Leonard Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. “House prices may be high, but there are some fundamental economic forces and not just speculation and very loose credit holding up the values.”
Even a price drop should not affect the housing market because of the pent-up demand and people who were priced out, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.
“They’ll just jump back into the market, viewing it as a second opportunity,” he says. “We are still facing a housing shortage with inventory still down from one year ago and significantly down from two years ago."
Why home price growth will slow down
Most experts predict an increase in inventory heading into spring 2022.
Some of it will come from new construction, or from older homeowners who had postponed listing their home for sale the last two years because they didn't want to sell and move during a pandemic, says Nothaft.
A segment of the population of borrowers who are in forbearance and are unable to make mortgage payments also are expected to sell their homes, he said.
“I don't think that's going to be a big number, but it will add to the inventory for sale,” says Nothaft.
Added to that, if mortgage rates go up next year, it could further erode affordability and reduce the number of prospective homebuyers in the marketplace.
“So between less demand and more supply, the price growth will slow down," says Nothaft.
Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy is the housing and economy reporter for USA TODAY. Follow her on Twitter @SwapnaVenugopal
Florida Keys Real Estate Sales Statistics for July 2021 tell the story...buyers are up against the no inventory wall ... the scramble for their Paradise Home before the looming "build out" has been foiled...themoratorium brought an end to the supply of any new building rights, period. So now, properties continue to sell quicker for more money, which is good for some sellers, but, for other sellers it's a double edged sword, they are not finding the replacement home here and are taking their listings off the market, exacerbating the lack of supply ... some Year over Year highlights:
Single family homes
Dollar Volume +34.5%
Average Sales Price +34.5%
Median time to contract -92.4%
Active listings inventory -62.7%
New listing +46.2%
Closed sales -58.3%
Paid in Cash -66.7%
New Pending Sales -16.7%
Pending inventory -25%
Active listings inventory -52.9%
Dollar Volume -41.6%
Condos and Town homes:
Closed Sales +0%
Average Sales Price +34.5%
Dollar volume +34.5%
New Pending Sales -56.7%
Pending Inventory -40.6%
Active listings Inventory -62.7%
Buyers remain hopeful, that prices will crash...however, inventory shortages stymie that Hope...about 59% of all Florida Keys Real Estate for sale remains under contract right now !! Inventory and Months of supply numbers are way down across the board, as buyers compete for the dwindling supply of homes in Paradise, as the build out here in the Keys, and what it means, is now a fact... it's real, it's here...new building rights through ROGO they are gone. Note: this is still not common knowledge with the legions of out of town buyers who continue to stack up...
There are still 10+ buyers for every home, there is definitely a "lock-out" happening where buyers no longer can get what they were looking at a few months ago for the same money, and have given up looking, or remain Hopeful for the "inevitable crash" that is going to happen in their minds. Other buyers are simply locked out of the market completely. The issue continues to be lack of supply. Had there been more supply, the numbers would have continued to accelerate at April's phenomenal levels.
What does "build out" mean? It means no more new building permits for new dwelling units in the Florida keys ! Renovations will be permitted, but the number of dwellings is capped. The remining available new dwelling permit slots remaining open are filled twice over with the application line up...but there is a work around if you are thinking about building a new home, you can buy a building right on the open market, THERE ARE SOME STILL FOR SALE...CALL ME!
What's going on? Demand from just about every demographic and geography for all possible reasons is keeping a fire burning under Florida Keys Real Estate. Covid has also changed attitudes towards work, retirement, health, safety, and quality of life, in a manner that has made owning Florida Keys Real Estate even more attractive than it already was. A new cohort!!...landlords burned with the eviction moratorium are looking for vacation rental properties that do not have the same constraints and regulations as regular rentals...
Investors, second home buyers, retirees, local families, continue to put pressure on the remaining homes in the Florida Keys as the build out becomes more well known ... NO MORE SUPPLY.
Average and median sales prices are reflecting the inevitable price appreciation. Relatively speaking, the Florida Keys remain "undiscovered" to a certain extent on a Global basis, but that is now rapidly changing. Compare Florida Keys waterfront home prices to Key Biscayne near Miami, or waterfront in California, and you can see that Keys prices are a fraction of those prices. There still appears to be a runway for higher prices yet.
Of course, there are always those that will try and "call a top". Who knows? Interest rates are low vis a vis the real inflation out there, decent safe investment yield is hard to find, REAL inflation is happening in risk assets, and the printing presses are running flat-out 24/7 ! Real estate has always been an excellent investment during times like this, and what might look like a top today, but looking back in a few years, will look like an excellent buying opportunity and a decent entry into a market with a known and mandated limited supply, that has excellent cash flow opportunities.
Thankfully, Real Estate values are easy to decode, one metric is that it is worth the future value of it's cash flow. It's also a great inflation hedge that has stood the test of time.
Contact us now at 305-781-5704 call/text, or TheKeysLifestyle@gmail.com, to find out how owning Florida Keys Real Estate can fit into your plans and portfolio!