The Pandemic Accelerates a Florida Land Rush
The pandemic has accelerated what is being called the “Great Real Estate Migration” and it’s be reflected in a Florida land rush. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been departing large urban city homes to head for the suburbs, rural areas, and less densely populated areas of Florida. A combination of reasons behind the move includes the ability to work remotely, civil unrest, high state taxes, and rising urban costs of living, just to name a few.
While mortgage rates this past year have dropped to the lowest in 50 years, droves of millennial renters living in populated city centers are now heading to the suburbs. This is an entirely new demographic flooding the homebuyer market. This also has fueled the real estate boom. Americans are anxious to become new homebuyers, and a housing shortage has become prominent.
While there are many unknowns, what we do know is that housing markets outside of the major urban core areas have benefited enormously and cover virtually every region of the country. Stephann Cotton, Cotton & Company Founder and CEO, states, “With a rush on real estate and a huge demand to continue building, Floria developers are left asking how am I going to replace inventory once it’s sold and where I am going to build next?” Developers are left scrambling for creative ways to deliver enough inventory to keep up with demand.
With a shortage of land in the country’s most desirable destinations like Florida, developers are forced to secure new parcels in areas virtually “off the beaten path” where easy access to schools, shopping, dining and recreation is not readily available. In Florida, an estimated 1000 people move every day, and the state has seen an “unprecedented demand” in luxury home sales as people from the Northeast are abandoning big cities. As a result, Florida developers have opted to purchase land in unsettled areas and then include missing components into extensive master plans. In a sense secondary destinations are now evolving into primary destinations.
GreenPointe Communities, one of the largest privately held developers in Florida, has taken advantage of the new dynamics with its newest community, Tributary. Seeking out land resources in Nassau County, GreenPointe Developers used natural areas and scenic waterways to build a community with plenty of green space and natural recreation. They kept the integrity of the natural upland and wetlands incorporating them into the neighborhood plan with featured outdoor activity amenities. Building nature trails throughout the community allowed residents to connect to these amenities, the waterways, and Tributary Regional Park. The Park is a public project of Nassau County with plans for baseball fields, kayak launch, playground, dog park, and other sports and multi-purpose fields. Delivering quality product, with built-in natural recreation, at an affordable cost, has proven a winning combination.
Where will Builders and Developers Go Next?
GreenPointe Communities continues its plans to bring housing to more rural areas of Florida with a new 2,055-acre property in a secluded western Port St. Lucie area. Plans include approximately 3,150 single-family home sites and 600 multi-family home sites, offering resort- style amenities with the added bonus of a 113- acre park and a future St. Lucie County public high school right in the neighborhood.
Knight Kiplinger’s new development called Newfield in Martin County, Florida, is another example of a land developer setting new standards for traditional neighborhood design and the preservation of open spaces. Newfield’s centerpiece is made up of 1,199 acres of natural lands that will be protected and will become the Kiplinger Conservancy with dedicated trails for hikers and mountain bikers. Additionally, another 1,100 acres of open space will be dedicated to playing fields, farms, groves, school grounds, recreational parks, and greens open to all county residents for their enjoyment. The remaining 30% or 1,023 acres will be developed into 4,250 residences over the course of a 20-year stretch.
Reinhold Corporation in Clay County, located in north Central Florida 30 miles west of St. Augustine, is also following suit. Reinhold plans to develop 17,000 acres surrounding the Town of Penney Farms with the start of its project this year. The acreage is so expansive that the community and master plan create a new town in an area formerly used for timber and dairy farming. The land has been owned by the Reinhold family for a quarter century, and with the newfound interest in housing with open air, mountains, and forests, and the need for inventory, the timing is ideal.
Having managed over 1,700 projects throughout the US, and the Caribbean over the last 37 years, Cotton & Company understands that getting to the market quickly to take advantage of the current real estate surge and desire for housing is of the utmost importance. Specializing exclusively in luxury real estate marketing, our team of 30+ real estate marketing specialists is prepared to bring developers to the market without a learning curve. Visit cottonco.com to learn more.