PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — One of the big questions looming as we head into the new year is whether the Florida housing market will cool off at all.
Helen Powers decided during the pandemic to leave New York City behind
"I was in Manhattan. It was difficult times, so I decided to take this opportunity to come down here permanently," Powers said.
She said she was in search of space and what many call freedom in Florida.
"I think it's the ability to be outdoors, the ability to do what you choose when you chose," she said. "I lived in Manhattan, and it was dangerous, dirty and a little depressing. It also seemed, in the middle of the pandemic like the apocalypse. It was very frightening."
Jeff Lichtenstein, the president and broker of Echo Fine Properties, said Florida remains a hot market.
"I think it's as sizzling as it is outside right now," he said. "I think that's what is going to happen. We have no inventory right now. I was looking at the Jupiter Island condo market today, there was one. In PGA, out of 5,000 homes, there are 13."
He said he doesn't think Florida is following suit when it comes to a possible market slow down, even a slight one. Lichtenstein said in Palm Beach County, the median sales price of a single-family home in 2021 was $559,500. That is up from $367,500 in 2019.
"I think we are going to see a 10 to 20 percent bump in prices," he said. "We don't have the inventory. ... The biggest reason is supply and demand, especially in Palm Beach County, east of I-95, east of the Turnpike that are really built out."
He said that supply and demand remain an issue, the ability to work from home, plus the influx with COVID-19 make Florida a continued attraction.
"Corporations are starting to move here," Lichtenstein said. "You are seeing that 'Wall Street South,' where financial institutions are moving from New York."
He said there is also the perception that Florida has more relaxed guidelines.
"It's both mandates, but it is also lifestyle," he said. "Some people mind the mandates, some don't, but you are still going into a restaurant, where here, you can sit outside."
He also said a lot of people who are down here right now for the season are deciding to stay and or make purchases since we are in another COVID surge.
Lichtenstein also said that he predicts more buyers in a few weeks, as those who are being cautious and stay home venture back out.
"We may see a frenzy that starts to happen about three or four weeks from now," he said.
A Zillow nationwide forecast predicts an 11 percent home value growth in 2022. That number is down from 19.5 percent in 2021.
Zillow said that is still a strong number and they claim sellers will continue to have the upper hand. All of it, they say, is fueled by a hot southern regional market and work-from-home options.
"Once you come down here, you don't want to go back," Powers said.
Some real estate agents said there is a bit of a slowdown right now when it comes to open houses with the omicron surge, but when it's over, it will go right back to where it was.