On March 23, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida signed a bill to keep the state on daylight savings time year-round. That means no more springing forward or falling back in the Sunshine State, as long as it passes through the United States Congress.
Florida isn’t the first state to consider using daylight savings time year-round. The state of Massachusetts was considering similar legislation just six months ago.
Daylight savings time was first implemented to conserve energy during World War I. After the war, department stores pushed for daylight savings time to continue because they claimed consumers shop more when there is sunlight.
Extending daylight savings time permanently could have a profound impact on when Florida real estate agents can show properties.
More time to show properties
Showing properties is almost exclusively limited to the weekends and after 5 p.m. because most buyers are employed, and thus, they are unable to escape the office during work hours.
However, that conflicts with a different need that buyers have. They want to see the outside of the property when they’re touring, so they prefer to tour during daylight hours.
Extending daylight savings time means that it would be lighter later in the day and darker in the early morning in Florida. Therefore, there will be more time to take buyers to properties before nightfall.
It’s only an extra hour during four months of the year (November through March), but that extra hour might make it possible to show a client all the properties they want to see in one day instead of breaking it up into two.
That might mean, as agents, we’ll need to work a bit later, but it’s better to work later year round, in my opinion, than to try to cram all the sales into the busy spring and summer months.
It could also mean more sales year-round instead of peaks during the summer months.
Psychological impact on consumers
As the days get longer, the real estate market gets better. Historically, home sales increase by an average of 33 percent between February and March. Home sales continue to increase by 10 percent month-over-month until August.
Beginning in August, the days start to get shorter and home sales begin to fall. They fall about 16 percent in August and then 10 percent in November.
Daylight has a psychological impact on people. They are more willing and excited to be outdoors during the day. Whereas, during the nighttime, people are more interested in staying indoors to wind down for the night rather than go out to tour homes.
That said, there are other reasons people don’t like to move in the winter. They don’t want to be moving in the middle of the holidays, for one thing. However, the daylight aspect has a large influence on people’s willingness to move.
Studies have proven that in areas where daylight savings time is used, there is a small hike in spending when daylight savings begins; however, at the end of daylight savings time, there is a much larger drop in spending that counteracts the hike.
But in places like Arizona, where daylight savings time is not used, spending is consistent throughout the year.
Although Florida’s permanent shift to daylight savings time could boost real estate sales, it would also be the demise of a very common real estate marketing tactic.
In Florida, agents would not be able to send out daylight savings time reminder postcards — a common tactic used to remind clients of not just the time change, but also that an agent they’ve worked with is still there for them.
It would also probably impact other tried-and-true marketing tactics, due to the changes mentioned above in house hunting and showing strategies that would likely occur.
How do you think year-round daylight savings time could affect the real estate market in Florida? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.