Over the past few months, our homes have become more important than ever. As families have been navigating the challenges of working remotely, taking classes online, and other performing daily activities together under the same roof, many buyers are considering new must-haves when it comes to their homes. Realtors in every community can help with advice and knowledge on local market conditions.
Following the first quarter shut-down due to the pandemic, there is a consensus that the industry is now experiencing a large-scale recovery. Sales were solid in Florida in January and February followed by an almost 50 percent decrease in closings year-over-year for March and April, but June numbers bounced back strong with statewide new pending sales of single-family homes up 23.2% and condos up 19.8% compared to June 2019.
There is little question that this current “gold rush” is driven by record-low mortgage rates and the growing realization that our homes may well become a bigger mainstay of our existence when it comes to work, play, and school than ever before, for the foreseeable future. Rates fell to just 2.88% for 30-year, fixed-rate loans in the week ending August 6, according to Freddie Mac.
Luchian Bercea is a Realtor with Dale Sorensen Real Estate who specializes in helping locals and newcomers find their dream home here on the Treasure Coast. He explains that buyers are more focused now not only on specific features but also on location in a different way.
“Larger yards, home offices that can accommodate two working adults, and quick access to beaches and other outdoor recreational areas that allow for social distancing seem to be the priority over proximity to shopping and other brick and mortar services. Homes with pools are also on in high demand,” said Luchian.
Search data across multiple sites such as Realtor.com shows that searches for homes with pools have increased as much as 40% in some areas. Luchian agrees that the current market is brisk and he is seeing more buyers looking for year-round homes both inland and on the barrier island.
The virus does not seem to have slowed down his viewings though, he points out that many people from out of state are looking at property with him from their own locations.
“People generally feel quite comfortable going for a viewing and most of them are wearing masks. I'm also doing FaceTime viewings with buyers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut plus a huge number of buyers from California.”
It is a sign of the times and the Florida residential real estate market is projected to grow, especially for sellers. According to an August news release by Florida Realtors, economists generally consider a six month supply of for-sale homes (inventory) to be balanced between buyers and sellers. An inventory greater than six months is a buyer’s market; an inventory of fewer than six months is a seller’s market. By the end of the second quarter of 2020, Florida’s inventory was approximately 2.8 months.
Though more single-family homes are starting to come onto the market, the demand from buyers continues resulting in values trending upward. During the second quarter, the median price for a Florida single-family home was $277,500, a 4.7% increase over last year. Locally, the median list price per square foot in Indian River County is $164, and $143 in St. Lucie County.
Beyond the numbers though, the Treasure Coast offers a lifestyle like no other in Florida. Far from the high rise ridden beaches to the north and south, this little stretch of Atlantic coastline is a gem that Luchian loves to show off. His advice for buyers?
“Choosing the right Realtor® is key because now, more than ever, your home purchase is likely the most important investment you’ll make because it’s not just about money anymore. People’s needs are changing quickly in terms of the role their home plays in their day-to-day lives so careful consideration is key. You need someone who will really listen first and treat you like a friend, not a transaction.”
That certainly seems to be his reputation, according to his clients. They describe him as “a real people-person, and hard worker who pays a great deal of attention to even the smallest of details,” and “an awesome Realtor®” as well as “a friend for life.”
Get in touch with Lucian Bercea HERE or call 321-361-6940