Florida housing market takes major hit from coronavirus; rebound timeframe uncertain

'A lot of people have pressed pause,' economist says
Posted at 9:50 AM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 10:06:09-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's housing market has taken a big hit from the coronavirus and experts are uncertain how long the downturn will last.

Spring is typically one of the hottest times to buy and sell homes. Prior to virus restrictions, Florida was in the midst of a banner year.

Zillow economic research data shows in early March the Miami region had a 20% increase in new listings compared to the year prior. By mid-April, they had plummeted, landing 45% under 2019's numbers.

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Pending home sales took a major drop as well. In March, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area pending sales hovered around 15% above 2019. By mid-April, numbers sank 60% compared to a year ago.

"Buyers and sellers are waiting to see how this plays out," Jeff Tucker, a Zillow economist, said. "A lot of people have pressed pause on their housing search and a lot of sellers are holding back from listing their homes."

The good news, Tucker said, his research shows there's still plenty of interest, prices are stable and some of the numbers have started trending upwards as Florida mulls loosening COVID-19 protections.

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For now, though, Tucker said buyers should expect to see a thinner market with fewer listings, but also less competition for a property in which they're interested. Sellers, he said, should expect less traffic and fewer competing offers.