The Covid-19 pandemic has done many things, among them, re-defined our view of “home”. For a long time we’ve read about how traditional homeownership may be waning, or at least, how home was more of a commodity, an investment, and nothing more. Well, I never thought that to be true for most, but nonetheless it’s safe to say that COVID-19 has reshaped how we view our homes.
In no small part due to the shutdown we all lived through, and to some degree, are still living through, the definition of home is much broader today. Home became a sanctuary…an office…a gym…a playground… a school…a culinary experience…and so much more. Forced to retreat into our homes, we’ve had to learn to live within a new reality to which we are all currently adjusting. These ‘adjustments’ are radically altering the way today’s home-buying consumer is evaluating and making purchasing decisions.
The truth of the new normal is that we are all learning to function entirely from within our homes in ways we would have never imagined before. Entire organizations have quickly transitioned to remote working environments, with employees increasingly working from the comfort and safety of their own residences. Schools are planning modified class schedules for fall classes, including more online in-home teaching, so the face of education is also rapidly changing. These are but two examples. There are many others.
In short, many aspects of our day have been altered, with many tasks traditionally performed outside the home, now being performed in the home. Just try purchasing at-home gym equipment, or a new bicycle. Finding equipment in stock is often another other challenge.
While we saw a number of weeks with very limited activity in the heart of the shutdown during March and April, we began to see signs of an emerging market in May, and certainly into June. And what does that market look like? The ‘new normal’ homebuyer is looking for several things, most of all, single-family, detached homes in all price ranges. That is certainly the most in-demand housing sector in Miami-Dade and Broward.
People want space for their home offices, enclosed outdoor space, exercise areas, makeshift classrooms, playrooms for their kids, a ‘cook’s kitchen’, and ‘quiet’ rooms for yoga and meditation. The definition of ‘home’ is arguably broader than it has ever been.
The increased demand, coupled with already low levels of inventory in many areas, has created a sellers’ market in all single-family categories, especially those in the under $1 million market. We are seeing multiple offers for homes, even sight-unseen offers. In addition, the availability of historically low interest rates has made buying real estate irresistible to today’s homebuyers.
We definitely have demand, and individuals who were looking to sell, but held back during the heart of the pandemic, are now realizing that they have a unique opportunity to sell their home. We expect to see increasing volumes of new listings as we move through the summer.
Interestingly, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty’s activity reports show that many of today’s transactions are dominated by millennials and move-up buyers. We are also assisting a growing number of buyers from the Northeast looking to capitalize on Florida’s tax advantages.
South Florida’s housing promises to be increasingly in-demand and relatively short in supply over the balance of the year, so don’t delay—whether buying or selling!