Throughout South Florida, we begin to see an influx of seasonal residents beginning to arrive during the months of November & December. Nowhere is it more evident than throughout the beachfront condos along A1A. It is not uncommon to begin seeing vehicles with out of state license plates at any give stoplight throughout South Florida beginning now. However, we all know that 2020 is a completely different year than we have ever seen.
The impact of the pandemic
Recently, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale predicted that the number of “snowbirds” will be off by 20% – 25% this year. Although nobody truly knows what to expect, it is safe to assume that there will be a good amount of seasonal residents that will opt to not return to South Florida this season. A big reason for this is that many people may be trying to avoid multifamily living arrangements at a time where social distancing is strongly recommended. For example, the thought of using an elevator with other people multiple times per day is precisely what many people are trying to avoid. Factor in that most of the seasonal residents are in the higher risk age groups for the virus, and it is easy to see why these living arrangements are being avoided.
The Canadian border
In addition to our friends visiting from the Northeast U.S., many of our Canadian friends also call South Florida their winter home. With this said, the U.S./Canadian border has been closed for many months now. Therefore, many Canadians that have driven south to the United States for the winter are not able to do so this year. As a matter of fact, the current travel restrictions at the land border crossings could possibly extend well into 2021. Another factor impacting our Canadian neighbors is also the case load of the pandemic in Florida relative to parts of Canada. At this point, it is fairly safe to assume that significantly fewer Canadians will be spending this upcoming winter season in South Florida.
It is important to note that the outlook is not gloom and doom for the South Florida economy. While we will likely see a decrease in visitors from north of the border, it is also possible that we see an increase in visitors from other parts of the country. With more people working from home, we are also seeing a trend in the number of people getting away to South Florida to work remotely in our tropical climate.
Another group of potential visitors may also be those suffering from “pandemic fatigue”. In other words, they have been in quarantine for the past 8 months and perhaps even bypassed their typical family summer vacation. Now as we are approaching the end of the year, they are looking to use up their accumulated vacation days that they never took this year. It is suspected that South Florida may also be a benefactor of this segment of the population as well. Regardless of what we see this winter season, South Florida will continue to be one of the most desirable destinations in the country. If you don’t believe us, just ask the approximately 1,000 people moving into The Sunshine State each day.