How increased demand for Florida housing impacts retirement communities

By: Jacob Sedesse

Florida is traditionally an attractive market for retirees. Recently, though, the state is attracting a different crowd due to remote work.

People choose to retire in Gainesville for various reasons — with key ones being the weather and climate.

“I always wanted to come to Florida anyway – because it’s warm,” said Barbara Hendrick, a resident of retirement neighborhood Turkey Creek Forest.

Hendrick, along with neighbor Martha Tanner, has taken advantage of this by making daily bicycle rides a part of their lifestyle.

Unfortunately for homebuyers looking for this lifestyle, experts say home prices are rising thanks to demand from a new subset of people: remote workers. This increase in demand is causing a shift in the real estate market.

Gainesville-based realtor Matthew Chapman said generally when his clients move to the area, they are able to sell their old home at top prices with no issue – but they struggle to find homes due to the high demand.

“We have such an enormous amount of people moving to Florida that when they get here, they’re just competing against all these other people–so it’s more of demand than it is pricing,” said Chapman, who works for Bosshardt Realty.

However, he rejects the idea that this could cause a long-term problem.

“Gainesville itself has a very healthy market, so when I see headlines saying that remote work is killing the housing market and driving prices up and things like that, that factor may last for a short period of time,” he said

Tanner believes, regardless of the price, retirees will still flock to Florida.

“The place is still here and the prices have been up everywhere, so you kind of have to decide which is more important for you at this point,” Tanner said.

In terms of the Gainesville commercial realty market, Chapman said that it experienced a slump during the COVID-19 pandemic it is starting to recover and get to a new normal.

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