WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The damage left by Hurricane Ian on Florida's west coast is likely to lead to more snowbirds heading to South Florida, according to some real estate professionals.
"Unfortunately, I was talking to a potential tenant who obviously had to cancel because the house is no longer standing, and they're looking here in South Florida," Carolina Barefoot of Sotheby's International Realty said.
The fall season is typically the time when many northerners will seek out short-term rental properties for leases that can vary from two weeks to six months.
"Particularly the seasonal market is really being driven up by these high-stakes demand forces that we’re seeing from the northeast and even from Floridians living on the west coast and right now don’t know how they’re going to rebuild," Barefoot said.
Florida Atlantic University professor Ken H. Johnson, an expert on the real estate market, said rent hikes are slowing but Hurricane Ian is likely to drive up seasonal rent prices because of the need to move construction jobs and materials to the west coast. This will also slow down new construction on the east coast of Florida
"We still have a problem. The market is still correcting itself, but this is going to slow down that correction," Johnson said.
Barefoot said some luxury condos that would have been going for $3,000 a month are now costing close to $5,000, and landlords want longer leases like six months.