Florida’s first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported on March 2. It was not until about one month later that Florida became the 34th state to issue a stay-at-home order, effective April 3 through the end of the month.
For weeks, Governor Ron DeSantis faced criticism from other local government officials and health professionals, including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, both of whom argued that DeSantis’ order came too late.
Spring breakers were allowed to stroll beaches and attend parties in early to mid March, which resulted in dozens of people falling ill and some dying, according to a New York Times report. Not to mention those individuals then significantly contributing to the spread of the virus to other regions across the U.S.
Now as Floridians shift into their third week staying at home, here’s what’s happening in the state’s real estate markets.
Statewide cases and deaths
- Florida reported 46,944 coronavirus cases as of May 19, according to the Florida Department of Health.
- As of May 19, there were 2,052 fatalities.
- A total of 681,314 tests had been administered as of May 14.
Statewide crisis response
- On March 17 Gov. DeSantis ordered bars to suspend sales of alcohol, directed individuals accessing public beaches to practice social distancing and limit group sizes to no more than 10, and ordered restaurants to limit capacity to 50 percent and direct patrons to follow social distancing guidelines. A few days later on March 20, on-premises food consumption in restaurants was suspended, gyms were closed, and unnecessary medical treatments were prohibited.
- As of March 24, Gov. DeSantis ordered that anyone traveling into Florida from out of state areas that contained a substantial community spread of COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days upon arriving into Florida airports. On March 27, the renting out of vacation properties was suspended until April 10 (an order later extended through April 30).
- On April 2, Gov. DeSantis suspended foreclosures and evictions throughout the state for 45 days. However, the order specified that individuals should not be considered as exempt from making rent or mortgage payments during this time.
- On April 3, a stay-at-home order went into effect through April 30.
- On April 14, Gov. DeSantis classified professional wrestling as an essential service, so that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) could continue broadcasting live shows.
Statewide real estate
- In February there were 80,997 active single-family home listings in Florida, a decline of 19.1 percent year-over-year, according to Florida Realtors. That represents a 3.3 months supply of housing, a drop of 23.3 percent in inventory from February 2019.
- February saw 20,693 single-family home closed sales in Florida with a median sale price of $270,000, an 8 percent increase from the median sale price of $250,000 the previous year.
- The median home value is currently $252,309, according to data from Zillow. That value has increased 3.6 percent year-over-year, but Zillow predicts that home values will only increase by about 0.1 percent within the next year.
- Florida Realtors has encouraged members to follow the National Association of Realtors (NAR) guidelines on conducting open houses during the pandemic, which includes reconsidering holding an open house altogether and implementing multiple sanitary measures if an open house is held.
- On April 6, the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) approved the use of video conferenced courses so that members could fulfill biennial license requirements, post-licensure requirements and pre-licensure requirements.
Duval, Clay, Putnam and St. Johns counties
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 1,986
Deaths as of May 19: 68
Jacksonville is in the northeast part of Florida, and the most is populous city in the state with an estimated population of 903,889, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. On April 16, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced that Duval county’s beaches and parks would reopen for limited hours with social distancing guidelines being enforced, starting on April 17.
In March 2020, there were 3,976 new single-family residential, condo and townhouse listings across Duval, Clay, Putnam and a portion of St. Johns counties, according to data from the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, a slight increase of 0.3 percent year-over-year.
Pending sales for March were at 2,823, a decline of 5.9 percent from March 2019. The average days on market was 70 days, down from 71 days the previous year.
The median sales price for single-family homes, condos and townhouses was $243,635 in March 2020, up by 5.9 percent from $230,000 in March 2019.
March 2020 showed an inventory of 3.1 months, a decrease of 20.5 percent year-over-year from 3.9 months in March 2019.
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 1,678
Deaths as of May 19: 37
Orlando, Florida’s hub of theme parks like Disney World and Universal Orlando is situated in the center of the state. Latest population information from the Census Bureau had the region’s estimated population at 285,713 in 2018.
There were 4,150 new single-family, townhouse, condo and duplex listings in March 2020 in Orlando, down from 4,271 new listings the previous year, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.
There were 2,914 new contracts generated during March, down significantly year-over-year from 3,655 in March 2019.
The average days on market was 54 days, down from 62 days the year prior. The median home sales price was $253,500, compared to $235,000 in March 2019.
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 1,653
Deaths as of May 19: 55
Tampa sits on Florida’s western side, along the Gulf Coast. Its population was last estimated at 392,890 according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2018.
In February 2020, there were 1,938 new single-family home listings in Hillsborough county, a decrease year-over-year of 3.7 percent from 2,013 new listings in February 2019, according to Greater Tampa Realtors. Active listings also dropped by 22.8 percent from 4,786 active listings in February 2019 to 3,695 in February 2020.
The median sale price for single-family homes was $258,900, an increase of 7.9 percent from $240,000 the year before.
The median time to contract tightened to 37 days, a 21.3 percent decrease from 47 days in February 2019.
Inventory also got tighter in February 2020 with a 2.0 months supply of inventory available, down from 2.8 months supply the previous year.
There were 1,014 active condo and townhouse listings, a decline of 21.5 percent from 1,292 in February 2019. The median sale price of these properties saw a 10.8 percent increase year-over-year from $170,000 in February 2019 to $188,400 in February 2020.
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 15,863
Deaths as of May 19: 566
Miami sits on Florida’s southeastern tip and is bordered by Everglades National Park to the west. The city was last estimated in 2018 to hold a population of 470,914 people.
The median sale price of a single-family home in February 2020 in Miami-Dade county was $370,000, a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year’s median sale price of $345,000, according to Miami Realtors.
Active inventory saw a decline of 14.0 percent year-over-year from 7,250 in February 2019 down to 6,238 in February 2020.
The median time to contract was 65 days, an increase of 6.6 percent year-over-year.
While months supply of inventory was relatively strong compared to other markets at 5.5 months, that metric dropped from 6.8 months supply one year ago.
Townhomes and condos had a median time to contract of 85 days in February 2020, down slightly from 83 days in February 2019. The median sale price saw a modest uptick to $255,000 from $250,000 in February 2019.
Confirmed cases as of May 19: 289
Deaths as of May 19: 6
Tallahassee, Florida’s state capitol, is located in the northwest area of the state. The city is home to about 193,551 people, and houses Florida State University and Florida A&M.
At the end of March 2020, the total number of single-family home, townhome and condo active listings in Leon County was 1,213, down from 1,357 in March 2019, according to the Tallahassee Board of Realtors. Out of the March 2020 total, 985 were single-family homes and 257 were townhomes and condos.
There were 3.3 months supply of inventory available, down from 4.0 months supply the previous year.
The median sales price of single-family homes was $243,000, up from $230,000 in March 2019. For townhomes and condos, the median sales price was $115,715, up from $110,000 year-over-year.
- Florida Realtors, as well as local Realtor associations for Northeast Florida, Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Tallahassee have pages on their websites devoted to coronavirus updates and resources for Realtors.
- The Florida Division of Emergency Management also has a section on its website devoted to coronavirus resources and support.
- The Florida Veterans Foundation has a COVID-19 resource webpage with information on how veterans affected by the pandemic can get support for things like mortgage payments and utility bills.
- The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has a website with COVID-19 support resources for individuals who have been affected in the industry.