‘Buying frenzy’ for real estate in Northeast Florida

NOCATEE, Fla. — The pandemic is making it harder to buy a house in Northeast Florida, according to Lindsey DellaSala with the DJ & Lindsey Realty Team.

DellaSala reports some homes are selling more than $100,000 dollars above asking price.

“There’s not a lot of houses out there,” buyer Christine Mason said. “We had to go up and down our budget.”

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Mason learned firsthand that it’s definitely a seller’s market in Florida. She spent months searching for the perfect home.

“We would find a house we liked, and there would be offers on it immediately,” she explained. “The pressure of having to make a decision if you wanted a house and wanted to pursue it, you had to make that decision fast.”

You can thank the COVID-19 pandemic for that; just ask DellaSala. She’s noticed double the amount of people moving to Florida as there were in 2019. And, she adds, since the pandemic and several lockdowns, people are looking for more space as they work from home. She says they’re flocking to Florida for its warmer weather.

“It’s definitely the craziest market we’ve ever seen,” DellaSala explained. “We have a lot of demand here right now, so there’s people moving here from all over.”

DellaSala says normally housing inventory goes about six months, meaning there are plenty of homes up for grabs. Now, she says that timeframe is reduced to just 11 days. She says if you’re looking to buy, competition is fierce.

DellaSala says many buyers are skipping home inspections and even buying houses sight unseen to be more attractive to sellers.

“A house comes on the market and in the same day it has like 20 offers on it,” she explained.

She suggests being flexible and meeting a seller halfway: You can do that by offering a lease back, delaying a closing date or agreeing to let the seller leave behind large furniture they don’t want to keep.

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As for Mason, she’s resting easy now knowing she finally got the perfect home.

“We... found the house that we wanted. We didn’t feel that we had to make a real quick decision – an overnight decision – so that was good,” she said.