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Florida Housing Prices Not Expected To Drop During COVID-19 Pandemic

The group Florida Realtors says there's few homes going under contract this month compared to last year.
The group Florida Realtors says there's few homes going under contract this month compared to last year.

Housing prices aren't expected to drop significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group Florida Realtors says that's because builders have been cautious since the last recession. They've built fewer homes, and Florida has a statewide shortage.

Florida Realtors' Chief Economist Brad O'Connor says new home sales are down anywhere from 30% to 40% statewide. He says there's a key difference between the housing market of today and the one ten years ago.

"When we went into the great recession builders… all across the United States had massively overbuilt homes," O'Connor says.

He explains that builders learned their lesson a little too well—the state now has a shortage of housing.

"So let's say the demand for housing falls, houses will still be scarce... So the prices won't fall as much as they did last time when there were so many houses to choose from."

O'Connor says so far, prices have remained stable, and he doesn't expect them to move much.

"We haven't seen a bunch of people leaving their houses on the market and selling for a lower price. What they're doing is pulling their houses off the market for a couple of months and waiting for all this craziness to go away, and then they will try to put their homes back on the market and sell for a similar value to what they have it posted for now," O'Connor says.

In Tallahassee, local real estate agent, Hettie Spooner, says there's not enough housing under $300,000.

"It's hard to find really anything in the Northeast section, which is predominantly the area that I specialize in, but it's hard to find anything under, $300,000 in Northeast Tallahassee," Spooner says.

She has seen people pull their houses off the market, but thinks it's a temporary trend.

"I do think Tallahassee is in a little bit of a bubble here. You know, even going back to the fall out of '09, '10, and '11, which were really bad real estate years. Tallahassee did not have it that bad. We saw about 18 months of a depressed market, and we bounced back pretty quickly."

She explains that while home values dropped, people didn't quit buying homes for very long. She says that Tallahassee, being a state capitol, has a lot of government offices as well as universities that create an influx of people coming in and out for new jobs.

"I think that protects us somewhat so I can see us doing okay and hopefully better than okay, but I think it's too soon to really know," Spooner says.

Florida Realtors agree that the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on the housing market, but they don't think it will last forever.

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