Which state has one of the most COVID-19 cases in the country and is also one of the hottest markets experiencing buyer demand in 2020? The answer might surprise you: Florida.
While August brought out some pretty devastating Coronavirus statistics for the Sunshine State (hundreds of students quarantined, thousands of cases added per day), it also revealed that the top destination state in the country in 2020 was Florida. According to the HireAHelper.com’s “Where Americans are Moving” report based on more than 25,000 moves conducted so far in 2020, Florida’s affordable cost of living, pleasant climate, and relatively relaxed COVID-19 restrictions have combined to create an attractive environment for households looking to leave their current geographic location. With one in six moves credited to COVID-19 because of job loss, job changes like remote work, safety perceptions, and a desire to shelter-in-place with family and friends, Florida appears to offer everything buyers are looking for even though the state also has high infection numbers.
So, what does Florida have that other states with large populations and high rates of COVID-19 spread do not? After all, New York and California are both experiencing serious population losses during the ongoing pandemic. In fact, about 64 percent more people departed these two states since the pandemic was declared than entered them.
HireAHelper.com’s research team cited “political ideology” as a significant factor in household moving decisions. Although buyers may say they want to live in areas where they feel safer, they also want fewer restrictions on their movements. Florida, with lots of outdoor recreational space and a temperate climate, is an ideal compromise since residents can decide whether they want to be around others without having to isolate inside if they choose to keep their distance. In New York and California, state and local governments have continued to severely restrict resident movement and a number of businesses remain shuttered as we move into fall.
Here are 3 Markets Seeing More Buyers During COVID-19:
- New Mexico
Idaho has actually experienced massive population growth, with three times more people moving into the state than are leading it! A big contributor to this is likely relative affordability in many desirable areas in this state, extremely attractive recreational spaces in the Rocky Mountains, and a burgeoning population of tech manufacturing companies that offer remote working options and economic stability in areas like Idaho Falls. An underlying groundwork of food processing and wellness-related businesses, including hospitals, in the area also helps keep the economy stable with essential jobs.
New Mexico, interestingly, is coming out of a surge in coronavirus cases, and this could be part of the reason for renewed buyer interest. Wondering how that works? The state’s higher volume of cases earlier this year has led to relatively more efficient, more effective testing, and that means that at this point, about 1 in every 30 tests is coming back positive (compare this to about 1 in 6 in Texas). This metric means that New Mexico is establishing itself as something of an “island” out west, meaning that in addition to the allure of more affordable housing than is available on the West Coast and in parts of Texas, New Mexico just feels safer to its residents, and that peace of mind goes a long way in today’s tumultuous times.
Ross DeVol, president of Heartland Forward, a think tank in Arkansas, described the situation in Idaho Falls and other small cities like it as “to some extent, they got lucky because of their underlying industry structure.” Luck or not, real estate investors must begin incorporating this type of information into their market analysis strategies in order to place their capital in markets that are most likely to be resistant or insulated from pandemic and recession.
Tom Olson is the founder and president of The Olson Group of real estate companies and the Good Success Mastermind. You can access the latest edition of his book, Contingency Planning for Your Small Business During COVID-19, and learn more about the Good Success Mastermind and 30-Day Good Success Journey at www.GoodSuccess.com.