The spring season is traditionally the busiest for property in Florida. And despite the stay-at-home recommendations in April, online searches for homes have soared. Two Florida metros featured in the top five most sought-after areas in the US.
Would-be buyer activity up
Data from Google and realtor.com for April shows big buyer activity in the month. All three parameters measured by the figures experienced significant increases. Potential buyers spent considerably more time looking at properties online. They also viewed specific listings for longer and shared more properties they liked with friends.
Google also compared the day with least searches in 2020 with searches at the end of April. This comparison revealed that certain metros in the US saw a huge uptick in interest in property. The largest was Tucson in Arizona where online searches soared by 164.71%.
Big interest in property in Florida
Two Florida metros featured in the top five – Jacksonville stood as the third most sought-after city in the US. Searches for homes in the metro went up by 96.08%. Miami took fourth place with an 81.82% increase.
Other hotspots for Florida real estate also saw more interest. Searches for property in Tampa went up by 44.26% at the end of April. Orlando saw a rise of 34.92%.
Spring season moves to summer
The data has surprised analysts, many of whom were expecting buyer activity to drop considerably during the stay-at-home recommendations. Some believe that the usually busy spring period will now shift to the summer.
“Data suggests that the spring homebuying season won’t be lost, but merely pushed into the summer months,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sees a similar pattern. He believes that sellers are waiting on the sidelines for the economy to reopen. This trend has already been seen in Georgia, one of the states to move out of lockdown. “Listings are popping out in Georgia,” Yun said, “and buyers are quickly grabbing homes.”
House prices remain stable
Yun also believes that property prices will remain stable despite the economic downturn. The lack of inventory across almost the entire country is one of the drivers behind prices. Property in Florida saw its 98th consecutive rise in prices in February this year. Housing supply in the state stood at just 3.3 months for single-family homes in the same month.
The US housing market is also in a strong position. Yun points out that residential investment (including new-home construction, sales and refurbishment) grew by 21% in the first quarter of this year. This reflects the strength of prices. “There is no meaningful downward trend,” he said. “If anything, they appear to be rising.”
Buy-to-let in Florida
BRIC Group has also seen a rise in buyer interest in buy-to-let property in Florida over the last few weeks. Listings include single-family homes and condo properties in the best locations in the Sunshine State such as Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. Investment starts at US$102,000 and many properties include a 2-year rental guarantee.
(Source: Florida Realtors, NAR)