Young Snowbirds, a Pandemic Real Estate Trend We Didn’t See Coming

Snowbird buyers aren’t exactly a novel notion. For many years, retirees have chosen a seasonal existence, purchasing residences in two different locations and moving out when the weather becomes too cold (or too hot) to bear. Do you want to buy a new home but need money? A loan from PaydayChampion will help you.

Some people take advantage of the situation by spending the summer with their grandchildren. Others utilize it to become full-time residents in states that do not levy income taxes (hello, Florida!). According to brokers, while such purchasers still exist, a new breed of snowbird has evolved, partly owing to the epidemic and the distant employment prospects it enables.

“Previously, snowbirds were identified with retirees,” explains Minette Schwartz, a Compass representative in Miami. “Young professionals, on the other hand, are increasingly migrating in the winter.”

There’s a new breed of snowbird afoot.

Real estate agents note a considerable surge in younger, seasonal homeowners since the pandemic ushered in flexible work arrangements (and other substantial lifestyle adjustments) over a year ago. According to Schwartz, they account for around a quarter of Miami’s selling and buying activity.

According to real estate agents, these new buyers come in all shapes and sizes, but most are young professionals in their 30s and 40s. They desire to spend time in two places, avoiding the harsh, snowy winters in the north and 100-degree summers in the case of “sunbirds.”

Real estate pros say it’s a massive change from when snowbirds were virtually permanently retired.

Trenton Hogg, a Redfin agent in Chanhassen, Minnesota, which was named one of Money’s Best Places to Live this year, says, “For the most part, the individual who wanted a second location to live — generally pursuing better weather — was retired and an empty nester.” In recent months, Chanhassen and the greater Minneapolis area have seen an influx of young sunbirds, many of whom have moved from warmer climates like Arizona and Florida during the summer months.

Romeo and Jama Filip are perfect examples of the sunbird phenomenon. Despite not relocating to Chanhassen, the couple did acquire a second home in Show Low, Arizona, in September.

The Filips have split their time between Show Low and their first property outside Phoenix. They intend to spend summers at their new home, operating their business from afar and escaping the heat.

“Everyone knows how hot Arizona gets in the summer,” says Romeo, who with his wife operates Battle Foam, a custom foam packaging company. “It seems that the several previous summers have been much hotter. The possibility to move north for a few hours and significantly change the surroundings and environment was a crucial factor in our decision to buy.”

It’s not just about the weather.

While younger snowbirds are following in their elders’ footsteps in season-seeking, agents say their motivations — and how they make it work — are very different.

For one thing, working from home is an option. Young Americans have typically been tied to their jobs, with proximity to work and commute times significantly influencing their home choices. Buyers nowadays have a lot more options for where they may conduct business and move.

According to Pew Data Center research, more than half of those who can work from home would want to do so when the pandemic is gone. The move to remote work might be far more dramatic in some instances. According to a recent survey of startup CEOs done by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, a quarter of companies aim to remain utterly distant in the future. Another 67 percent will opt for a hybrid strategy, in which in-office work is only required on occasion.

Pruna said Giralda Place had seen a “noticeable” increase in non-retired snowbirds in the last 90 days. Most of them maintain second homes in colder areas such as Chicago and New York.

Even though Pruna states that most buyers at Giralda Place are single, Pruna argues that this is not the case in other parts of the nation. For example, Hogg has seen an increase in snowbirds with young children, which he attributes to the increased use of virtual education and homeschooling. According to the US Census Bureau, homeschooling more than doubled during the pandemic, with 11 percent of parents preferring to educate their children compared to 5% in early 2020.

“I’ve been struck by younger snowbirds with their babies still in the nest,” Hogg says. “I’m seeing people who aren’t sure whether their children will be able to attend physical schools in the future, so these new snowbirds may be much younger and with families.”

Aside from the newfound independence, the disease — and all the constraints it has imposed — has pushed some younger Americans to pursue the snowbirding lifestyle.

“The COVID nonsense was the last nail in the coffin,” Romeo Filip says, adding that although getting out of the heat was a great benefit, it wasn’t the primary reason they bought a second property during the pandemic. “As the country’s restraints increased, we thought having a second house as an escape plan became more necessary.” In a town like Show Low, the regulations looked to be a bit more lenient. We assumed we were in a position to make our COVID-protection judgments.”

The Filips aren’t the only ones who are affected. Many young snowbirds in Pruna’s neighborhood took the same way last year, heading to Florida, where laws were loosened, and life felt freer.

Pruna notes, “South Florida was one of the first locations to recover normal commercial and corporate operations.” “It attracted many people from locations where there were still constraints.”

We’ll be here for a long time.

Whatever prompted their arrival, these little snowbirds are here to stay.

The Filips’ new house in Torreon, a Show Low golf club enclave, has seen an influx of pandemic-era home purchases, many from buyers who use the same snowbird/sunbird strategy as the Filips. More than half of the almost 900 homes in the neighborhood were acquired in 2020 or later, and an incredible 83 percent of residents only live there part-time (the majority don’t even golf!).

“We’ve seen a huge increase in younger families and young professionals last year,” says Bryan Anderson, associate broker at Torreon Realty. “The ability to work remotely is what’s driving it for the most part.”

Developers have picked up on the trend as well. An excellent example is District 225, a new apartment building in Miami. With amenities such as fully furnished condominiums, resort-style facilities, and an entire level dedicated to co-working space, the recently launched property appeals to younger, more migratory consumers.

On the other hand, what is the most pleasing aspect of being a snowbird? That’s the cooperation between District 225 and Airbnb, allowing residents to rent out their rooms while away from home.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest from digital nomads, jet setters, snowbirds, and a younger generation of buyers who don’t want to be tied to one location,” says Eric Fordin, senior vice president of Related Group, the District 225 developer. “Homeowners have the right to conduct their lives according to their own rules.”

The pitch seems to be in good working order. The sales of District 225 apartments started three months ago, and 70% of the units have already been sold. It’s just another piece of evidence that America’s young snowbirds are here to stay – at least as long as remote work opportunities exist.

“People will start to think about where and how they want to live once they understand they’ll be able to work remotely or only come into the office a day or two a week,” Hogg says.