Today, Floridaofficially passed its 10,000deathfrom the Covid-19 pandemic. The first official deaths in Florida occurred on March 1, 2020, and in the intervening months the death rate has accelerated. About 5,000 Floridians have died in the last 30 days. Florida joins New York, New Jersey, California and Texas in reaching this grim milestone, and nationwide more than 170,000 people have died. We express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have passed away, and we offer our profound appreciation to the frontline workers who have risked their lives to save those who were inflicted with this terrible disease.
Florida primary update.
The 2020 primary election proved to be a smooth and efficient operation across the state of Florida. Out of the 13.8 million registered voters, nearly 4 million turned out on Tuesday night to vote. Three incumbent members of the Florida House lost their re-election bid and up to 25 new House members are expected to be elected on November 3. With a current breakdown of 73 republicans and 46 democrats, incoming Republican House Speaker Chris Sprowls is also poised to return a strong republican majority back to Tallahassee. The Florida Senate will welcome 8 new Senators and 17 races for the Florida Senate will be decided on the November 3 General Election. Two battleground races will take place in Senate District 9 and Senate District 39. With a current breakdown of 23 republicans and 17 democrats, incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson will return a republican majority back to Tallahassee.
Covid-19 rewrites the real estate rule book.
For the real estate market, the consequences of the pandemic have been profound and in some cases counterintuitive. On the residential side, historically low mortgage rates have driven demand for homebuyers, but the available housing inventory to purchase has dramatically declined; a 29% reduction from a year ago. This initially resulted in an increase in home prices, but the long-term effect of the pandemic on prices could drive down prices 6.6% on the average over the next year as the Covid-19 recession takes its toll on wage earners. Price swings have varied widely depending on the type of home and its location. Suburban homes near New York City became very attractive for urban dwellers looking for more social distancing space, and prices increased accordingly. In the heart of New York City rents have plummeted.Downtown San Francisco has been hit particularly hard with workers, now operating on remote, having fled the city. Nearby Napa is seeing a huge jump in home prices fueled by the San Francisco exodus. Distant Rocky Mountain towns like Missoula, Montana, have seen a dramatic upswing in home prices. On the commercial side, suddenly those not-very-inspiring single-story office buildings from the 1980s are in hot demand because they lack open floor plans and elevators, two features to avoid in a pandemic. Restaurant spaces with outdoor dining are in demand, so much so that cities are closing down streets to convert them to al fresco dining. The big question: are these temporary market shifts or a more permanent reset for the entire real estate landscape?
S&P tests new highs.
Yesterday the S&P 500 closed at 3,389.87, a record high closing. The new high is another milestone in the market’s record setting nose-dive and rebound, returning then surpassing the loses accrued in February and March. The gains are continuing to be driven by tech, which should not be surprising. The stock market is forward looking, and in many ways the coronavirus response has acted as an accelerator, driving the trend toward digitization of the economy that had been picking up steam for decades.