The COVID effect: The surprising impact of the pandemic on Miami-Dade real estate

Months of stay-at-home orders, growing numbers of infections and deaths, working remotely while the kids are attending school in the next room, stop-and-start business closures, and no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic have all had an unexpected — and seismic — impact on Miami-Dade’s real estate market. It’s just not what you probably think it is.

“As the weeks ticked by, we were all getting stir crazy and our tempers were running thin, especially all of us glued together in a tiny apartment,” said Maria Ester Mercader, who lives with her husband and their three sons in a two-bedroom condo with no balcony in Key Biscayne.

Mercader had been thinking about buying a home for a couple of years, but COVID finally tipped the couple off the fence. “We felt really sad for our three boys who were now begging for a ‘big house’ with a ‘big patio,’” she said.

But like many people in Miami-Dade shopping for a single-family home within their price range, Mercader has come up empty so far.

COVID-19 has turned out to be an unexpected boon for the residential real estate market and yet another hurdle for out-priced home buyers. Historically low interest rates and condo-cabin fever have driven up demand (and prices) for single-family homes and are even moving the needle on the sluggish, overstocked condo market.

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