Disclosure: This article is not financial, real estate, legal or professional advice of any kind. If you want professional advice, you can get that by entering into an agreement with a qualified advisor.
Q) Is Now the Time to Buy Real Estate in Florida?
A) No, In My Opinion It is Not a Good Time to Buy a Home in Florida. Why?
- Because it’s still a seller’s market, so buyers are paying more than they need to.
- Prices may not be going much higher for much longer.
- Florida homes will likely be selling at a huge discount again in the not too distant future.
Allow me to explain these 3 reasons further…
#1) It’s Still a seller’s market in most of of Florida.
Buying a Home in Florida for far more than what it is listed for, or paying far more than what the appraisal says it’s worth, is never a good idea!
The only possible exception to that rule is…
1) If the home has exceptional, one of a kind views, water access, location or hopefully every one of those advantages.
2) You the buyer are only using a small fraction of your net worth to pay the $10,000,000 cost, it will be only be one of the five homes you own, and when the value drops 50% you can wait for years until the value rises again to sell it.
However, if the Florida home you are thinking of buying is similar to all the other homes in the neighborhood, parting with all your cash, or worse yet, going far into debt to overpay for a home in a hot sellers market in a transient state, is never a good thing.
Unless you’re a fan of buying high and selling low, I wouldn’t buy a home in Florida now or recommend that to any of my family or friends. Buying a home in seller’s market should be avoided if at all possible, even in non-transient states, but especially in transient Florida’s yoyo real estate market.
During the last recession Florida home values dropped as much as 60%. Did you buy a house in Florida during the last seller’s market in 2006 for $250,00? Congratulations, that home would only be worth about $100,00 in 2009, if you could find a buyer, but chances are you couldn’t. That’s why Florida became the foreclosure leader in the US for years.
Thousands of people quit Florida every week, and have for decades. After the last recession, prices dropped so far, sellers just moved out of Florida and left their impossible to sell, underwater home behind to go into foreclosure.
Buying a home in a seller’s market wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to do in most other US states because home prices usually just stall or decrease slightly during troubled economic times.
However, in a highly transient state like Florida (where lots of people move in looking for paradise and then move out after the FL honeymoon is over) that has a real estate market that rises and falls like a yo-yo, it can cost you a lot of money if you buy in a seller’s market. Most people moving to Florida believe they will enjoy living in the state far longer than what actually happens, but studies show that for a high percentage of people, that’s not what happens.
Paying a high price for a home in a seller’s market, increases the odds that you will buy high and sell low. Over 10 million people (and growing every day) have moved to Florida only to move out later. If you buy an overpriced Florida home at the top of the market and then find you can no longer live in the state, and Florida home prices have tanked, you could end up like so many people have before, with a home worth far less than you payed.
Besides, if you’re going to buy a home in Florida, why not do it when it’s a buyer’s market. Why not buy when everyone is selling in Florida at reduced prices up to 50% off or more and there are tons of homes to chose from? That’s far different than what you see in the market today.
#2 At Some Point in the Not to Distant Future, Florida Home Prices will Stagnate Then Drop
I wouldn’t rush into buying a home out of fear that because someone trying to sell you something told you home prices will just be higher next year or in 5 years. This is what buyers were told in 2005 and 2006, right before the last time a real estate price bubble popped and home prices crashed in Florida.
Recent home buyers have been able to go far deeper in debt and buy far more expensive homes that ever before, with just the same income. This means that lenders, investors or someone is going to take a potentially larger loss on every home that goes into foreclosure. Black Knight, a premier provider of data and analytics to mortgage lenders said that another 723,000 more homeowners became delinquent on their mortgages in May 2020 alone. More homeowners are behind on payments now than at any time in the last 9 years. Guess which state is now in the top 5 with the highest delinquency rate?
#3 There Will be Another Fantastic Time to Buy a Home in Florida
Here’s Why it’s Still a Good Time to Sell, But Not a Good Time to Buy, and Why That’s Changing…
- During good economic times, lots of people move to Florida. All of that recent stimulus money pumped into the economy like never before, created good times and many moved to Florida as usual. However, those good times were like an artificially created sugar buzz that’s coming to an end and it doesn’t look like it will be repeated. On August 13, 2021, CNBC published a story about a consumer sentiment survey titled “Consumer sentiment measure falls to pandemic-era low, sees one of largest drops on record”. During challenging times, the number of people moving to Florida drops, but the number of people moving out increases.
- People moved to Florida because it was “open” when in many other states things were shut down. However, now things are generally open in most states and it’s hard to find a news outlet that doesn’t have a story or two about the high number of covid cases in Florida currently.
- Many visited Florida last winter when the weather in the state was fantastic, so they moved there. Now they’re learning that most of the time it’s not like that. And yea, now a hurricane hit another state, but it could have been Florida. So all those people who have moved to Florida because of a wonderful visit are starting to learn how different living there really is.
- Many companies allowed employees to work from anywhere if their job could be done remotely. So many moved to Florida. Now they’re learning they may have to return to the office in the future.
- Historically low interest rates allowed buyers to borrow more debt to pay higher prices. As the FED raises interest rates, which may happen sooner than we think, buyers will be approved for lower loan amounts, so they’ll have look at cheaper homes, not only in Florida but all states.
If you’re thinking of selling your Florida home now…
Sell while prices are still high and cash in your chips.
If I were one of the few brave souls who moved to Florida between 2008-2012 and bought when prices were 50% off (or more) in Florida, now would be a good time to sell and cash in your chips while you still can, if your honeymoon with living in Florida is over. Or maybe you’ve gone from loving Florida to being on the fence about staying or moving out. You’ll kick yourself if you wait until another major negative event pushes you (and everyone else) to sell, because it may be too late when Florida home prices drop like they have many times in the past.
Even people who moved to Florida only to realize it was a mistake and want to leave, find it hard to sell an asset (their home), when every day it’s worth more. So, what do they do? They wait until it becomes clear that prices have stopped going up. Unfortunately, by the time a sellers market ends in Florida and it hits the news, it’s already too late. Home prices start falling. And fast. And buyers don’t like to buy when prices are dropping every day because homes will likely be cheaper tomorrow.
When a change happens in the Florida market, sellers are often shocked they aren’t the only ones who want to sell at the top before price fall, as they see all the other homes in their neighborhood go up for sale too. This is when a flood of homes enters the market all at the same time, causing supply to balloon and prices to drop. When this happens, real estate agents start checking to see if their phones are still working because things get real quiet.
That’s when you want to be a buyer in Florida, when every day there’s more for-sale signs going up and desperate sellers drop prices constantly in an attempt to sell before all of that “bubble equity” dwindles to nothing.
If you wait to sell until the first “home prices in Florida are moderating” headline, you probably waited too long. When lots of homes start coming on the market, and price reductions become commonplace, buyers start to hold off on buying. Why? Because it’s hard to buy when there’s more new homes in their price range to look at every day, and new price reductions. Why buy today, when tomorrow it might be cheaper or a better home for less will appear?
If I was thinking of buying a home in Florida right now…
If I was someone with $100 million in cash just laying around and wanted to spend a few million of it in Florida to buy a home, I’d just do it, regardless of what market it is.
However, if my home was my greatest financial asset, or I needed a mortgage to buy, or I was retiring and was going to be living on a fixed income, should I buy at what could be the top of the market, maybe right before prices tank again? Or should I would wait for the next buyer’s market?
Of course, if you knew for sure that you were going to love living in Florida forever, you could just buy and let prices go up and down and it wouldn’t matter. Why? Because you won’t be selling your home. The only thing will matter is a higher real estate tax bill to pay when your home’s assessed value inflates along with higher insurance rates which can become a financial burden, especially if you’re on a fixed income as many retirees are.
The problem with that is everyone believes they’re going to love living in Florida forever. That’s the only reason they would take a course of action where they lose money selling their current home (real estate commission, repairs, closing costs, etc.), spend a fortune moving their stuff 1500 miles, and then spend more money including more closing costs to buy a home in Florida, somewhere they never lived before.
Unfortunately, many move to Florida only to eventually discover that it was a mistake, that requires going through the disruption and expense of yet another long distance move, to correct. This can be life altering if they bought at the top of a buyers market, and badly want to sell but it’s now a buyers market and the Florida home they no longer want is worth less that they paid.
- The best time to buy a home in Florida (or anywhere) is during a buyer’s market when demand for homes is low and supply is plentiful so there’s lot of homes to choose from. It is not currently a buyer’s market in Florida.
- The best time to sell a home in Florida is when it’s a seller’s market because supply is low and prices are high, like now, and even the worst homes command top buck.
- Home prices in Florida could rise further before they fall.
- You could buy a home in Florida regardless of what prices were if it would only take a small fraction of your net worth to do so, or if you knew for sure you’ll live in Florida forever and would never want/need to sell, so price drops wouldn’t matter. However, everyone moving to Florida believes they’ll love it forever, but a higher percentage than what you’d think eventually learn it was a mistake and move out
- You could get a much better idea if living in Florida will be right for you or not by reading the Florida Move Guide. I guarantee it.
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc.
- Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.