Hurricane Irma Impact on Local Real Estate Market

First and foremost, for all of you that were impacted by Irma directly, I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are safe in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. As the initial clean-up of our beautiful community is well underway, it is encouraging to see the community as a whole come together and provide assistance to all of those in need.  If there is anything I can do to help you and your family, please do not hesitate to ask.

So, the question I have been receiving the most over the last week is how will the storm impact our local real estate market.  At the end of the day, Southwest Florida with its beautiful beaches, weather, culture and overall way of life here will always be an attraction.  Overall, Florida in general, and its real estate market will most likely suffer only a short-lived impact from the hurricane.

For a brief period, it will affect home closings.  Most homes being sold with a loan that has already had an appraisal will require another physical appraisal inspection to assess any damage before it closes.  This is required on federally backed loans in counties designated as FEMA Disaster areas.  Expect some backlogs for these inspections to take place which may result in additional delays for closings.

Some short-term market trends that may occur based on history:

  • Increase in short-term rentals as homeowners perform repairs and workers come in from outside the area to perform such services
  • Increase in investors searching for bargains as a result of hurricane fear
  • Price fluctuation as the initial shakeout occurs
  • Fewer new listings in September and October as sellers make repairs and wait for the area to be cleaned up
  • A small number of sellers may panic and sell just to get out, which may cause a short-term negative pressure on prices as bargain hunters capitalize
  • Possibly fewer buyers in the market for a couple of months due to the uncertainty, but the smart buyers that have done their research will be actively viewing homes

Long-Term Impact:

  • Buyers increased demand for construction built with the most current hurricane codes
  • Sellers may be pressured to spend money on new roofs and windows/protection to compete with the newer construction
  • Decrease of interest in homes that were located in areas that witnessed flooding
  • Increase in demand for well-built, well-managed condominiums that handles all aspects of storm preparation
  • Buyers will demand more information related to flood zones, elevations and hurricane codes.

Bottom line, we have experienced a very balanced market here in Southwest Florida for most of 2017 and we do not anticipate that to change.  While we do anticipate some price fluctuations in the short-term, the expectation is that these fluctuations will diminish within a couple of months.  Fortunately for most of Southwest Florida, the damage was limited to screens, pool cages, roof tiles, other parts of the roof structure, and downed trees.  All of this attests to the solidity of the construction in the homes in the area.  For the BUYERS, be realistic about pricing as only a small number of sellers will panic, most will wait for things to settle rather than selling at a significant discount.  For SELLERS, don’t panic, stay the course, be firm with negotiations, buyers will get the message and any reduction in the number of interested buyers will be short-lived…people still want to live here!

As always, I am here to help and assist in any way possible.  Please email me if you would like updates or information about specific areas here in the area.