Like most of the USA, Florida was hit very hard by Covid. It was fortunate though in having lots of sun, outdoor dining and entertainment venues, along with first rate internet, and wifi capability.
The pandemic allowed Northern Snowbirds to re-assess their life-styles. They realized they could work just as efficiently via the internet while sitting in a Cabana by the pool. It became the smart way to get through the pandemic. This “is a new norm”, says Ann, a Canadian with dual citizenship, “With the “Covid” lockdowns and lack of vaccines I realized I could operate my business as easily from my Florida residence as compared to Toronto. I was shockingly more productive”.
For those lucky enough to be retired it was an even easier decision. Relaxing in the sun and hibernating in Florida was as safe a place as any when dealing with the Covid pandemic. Joe, another snowbird was telling his friends why Florida was the place for him, “Much to my surprise the majority of Floridians and businesses adhered to the CDC covid guidelines. Yeah the governor is a little wacky, but I really felt safer in Florida than I did up north – plus the vaccine rollout here has been fantastic”.
Ann and Joe are not alone: Northern Snowbird migration to live in play in Florida actually created a housing and vacation rental boom. People just didn’t visit – they purchased homes and condos’ pushing the values to pre 2009 levels. Florida Realtors cite a lack of supply of new homes and rental inventory. A problem which they believe will remain for at least a few more years.
Mike Ambrose, a West Palm Beach real estate agent caters to Canadian and norther US buyers. He said with Covid he believed housing prices were going to “nose dive”. Says Mike, “It has been just the opposite – in the last six months the average increase in home prices has risen by 12% while rental properties have increased (if you can find one) by up to 18%. It is now very common for a house to sell well over asking.” He even has northern snowbirds buying homes site unseen. As Mike said, “Covid created a life style change – just more demand than there is inventory”.
So what is the moral of this story? Florida and those warm sunny U.S. states are the places where Snowbirds want to be. If you plan to head south this upcoming season, make sure you’re fully vaccinated and act quickly. Book and arrange your trip as soon as possible. Space is limited.