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Low Supply & High Demand: The Pandemic's Unexpected Impact on Treasure Coast Real Estate

Indian River County Realtors Craig Von Kohorn and Kyle Von Kohorn
Tania Ortega-Cowan
Indian River County Realtors Craig Von Kohorn and Kyle Von Kohorn

People are leaving large cities, working from home and banking on low interest rates. This has created a most unexpected impact on the Treasure Coast real estate economy. Tania Ortega-Cowan meets father-son real estate team of Craig and Kyle Von Kohorn to hear details.

The pandemic is obviously changing the way we do things. Many people who used to work in large, densely populated areas are now working from home, and home can be anywhere. The tremendous appeal of the Treasure Coast may explain the unexpected increase in residential real estate sales here.

Today we are headed to a luxury oceanfront condominium for sale on Ocean Drive in Vero Beach to meet with a father-son team with Alex MacWilliam Real Estate.

CVK: Good morning! Good morning! My name is Craig Von Kohorn. This is my son…

KVK: Hi there. I’m Kyle Von Kohorn.

TOC: So we’re going to the Penthouse?

KVK: We’re going to the top. To the top!

CVK: We have been busier than we’ve ever been. Mother Nature has thrown us a curve ball that’s helped the market.

KVK: We’re seeing folks from all over the map. Folks from large cities near and far – within the state, outside of the state – they have been seeking areas like Vero Beach as places to either move to on a permanent basis or escape to for an extended period of time.

It's also a good time to take out a mortgage.

KVK: Of course, we’re seeing a lot of people wanting to take advantage of the lower interest rates right now.

The result of this perfect storm?

KVK: A continuing decline in available inventory and increase in demand for places like our area.

He pulls out a chart showing available inventory of Residential Single-Family Home and Condominiums in Indian River County.

KVK: July was down 17% year over year. August 23%. September 33% and October 33 and a half percent.

Alex MacWilliam Real Estate

Another chart shows sales over the last 6 months compared to the same time last year.

KVK: We have an upward trend in units sold, both in condominium and in single family, which is in opposite correlation to what typically transpires in any given year here for our marketplace. Single family units that have closed in October are up 35.7% year over year.

Typically, in the years before 2020, sales peak in April and May and drop off throughout the summer.

KVK: This year has been in direct opposite of that.

Alex MacWilliam Real Estate

Another opposite is the way they do business.

KVK: So, while we’re trying to minimize exposure for health purposes, we’re trying to maximize exposure for properties.

Just like most everyone, the real estate industry uses technology to keep moving forward. A major recent development is the…

KVK: 3D tour that allows consumers to all but physically walk through the home – look up, look down, look around, turn around in a room. And get a feel for the floorplan from wherever they are around the globe.

They have a different approach to showing homes, as well.

CVK: We don’t want to expose people to the virus and so we ask for people to make it easy for us to show. Open the doors, open the cabinets. Turn on all the lights so we don’t have to play with light switches. We don’t have to touch anything except the doorknob to get in and the doorknob to get out.

What does a successful local real estate market mean to us on the Treasure Coast?

KVK: It helps increase our tax bases. You know, think about all the industries that are affected and/or impacted by the real estate business.

He names insurance agencies, mortgage lenders. Title companies. Home inspectors.

KVK: People doing painting and renovations. Repairs. Roofers. Tile workers. The impact of real estate transcends into many different facets of our community and the fact that there’s so many people being positively impacted by so many folks entering our market is a positive sign. Hopefully, we’re keeping people afloat during this pandemic.

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Alex MacWilliam Real Estate