Will The COVID-19 Vaccine Have As Dramatic An Effect On The Market?
The residential real estate buying and selling process went completely virtual a the very beginning of the pandemic. Everything — from listings, to showings, to offers, to selling, to financing, to closing — became a virtual experience, which was clearly a success with the soaring market we’re still experiencing.
Facebook and Instagram Live home video tours were born out of the pandemic — and are continuing to be offered today. The video quality of the tours, coupled with 3-D photography floor plans, has provided buyers (and brokers) the ability to ‘tour’ more properties in the same or less time as the more traditional in-person tours. These new methods are definitely here to stay post-COVID.
With the vaccine deliveries rapidly moving within the population, we expect to soon see international travelers and second-home owners returning to South Florida and other key urban centers across the US. For almost five decades, our real estate has been a magnet for our international friends to establish part-time, and full-time, residences throughout our communities. The strengthening of the US dollar against most South American currencies since the recession of 2008, in addition to the economic setbacks and instability of some of the countries south of us over this past decade, have made it difficult for several of our former largest South American buying regions to purchase here.
While buyers from Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina comprised our top three international buying groups for several years, sales to residents of those regions have fallen dramatically. These international groups are the ones who have shaped our community over the past 40 to 50 years, purchasing property in South Florida either as an investment, a pied-a-terre, or a little of both. Covid has certainly played a huge role over this past year in slowing sales to the international population, as well, but we are encouraged that buyers from international markets, particularly from South America, will return once the vaccine has reached greater numbers and the threat of COVID subsides. In the meantime, US domestic buyers motivated by COVID, and the ability to work remotely, will continue to be a significant factor in creating new demand for our housing of all types.