Area Real Estate News & Market Trends compliments of The Tom Smith Team Coastal Properties Group

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!  The Tom Smith Team is ranked in the top 1% out of 10,000 Realtors with over $175 Million Sold!

Sept. 27, 2021

Housing Market Report Pinellas County August 2021

The housing market for Pinellas County as a whole is showing no signs of slowing down.  Although there is not as many bidding wars as we have seen in the past few months homes are under contract within 8-10 days of listing for 100% on average of asking price.  Although inventory levels are still at historic lows we did see new listings for single family homes rise 7.9%.  However for condo and townhomes new listings actually dropped 7.9% in August.

Watch a video summary here (1:37) August 2021 Market Statistics Report for Pinellas and Pasco Counties - YouTube

PRICE TRENDS
The average price of single family homes and attached dwellings (see graph below for 12 month history) have stabilized with just minor fluctuations month to month.  Going back 2 years the average sale price for a single family home was $345,739 (Sept. 2019) which is an increase of almost 25%.

 

Combined Single Family Homes, Condos, and Townhomes

Summary for single family homes only.

Summary for Condo and Townhome only.

 

Thank you for checking out our market report for Pinellas County.  If you have any questions or comments about the housing market here or surrounding areas please reach out to us today and we will be glad to assist you.  

The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  Our extraordinary success is a result of the hard work and dedication we give to our clients each and every day.  We hope you will consider the Tom Smith Team when you are ready to buy or sell your home.   

See you on the beach!

Tom Smith 727-776-3375
Kristin Vincelli 727-686-1596

  

Sept. 4, 2021

Housing Market Price Trends Pinellas and Pasco County

Housing Market Price Trends 2-Year History Pinellas and Pasco County's Near the Gulf of Mexico 

 

With prices at historical levels on the beaches of Pinellas County a lot of buyers looking to move to the area to be on or near the beautiful beaches of the Gulf are having to look inland where homes are more affordable.

In this article we are going to look at a 2-year history of housing market price trends of all home types (single family, condo, townhome, villa) for communities inland.  Cities like Largo, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor and more are very desirable and, in some cases, just minutes from the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico.  

The communities below were chosen due to the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico.  We did not go too far inland however if you are interested in learning more about a specific zip code or a city closer to the central part of the state, we would be happy to provide any information.  Scroll over each bar in the graph to see specific pricing data and percentage change.  

Pinellas County communities listed below: Largo, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Dunedin, Pinellas Park, Seminole

2 year average sale price Largo, FL 
August 2019 $243,395
July 2021 $288,000

2 year average sale price Palm Harbor, FL
August 2019 $299,728
July 2021 $374,752

2 year average sale price Tarpon Springs, FL
August 2019 $355,860
July 2021 $415,134

2 year average sale price Safety Harbor, FL
August 2019 $305,979
July 2021 $467,203

2 year average sale price Oldsmar, FL
August 2019 $276,361
July 2021 $343,942

2 year average sale price for Clearwater, FL 
August 2019 $252,348
July 2021 $340,199

2 year average sale price for Clearwater Beach, FL 
August 2019 $827,595
July 2021 $1,152,541

2 year average sale price for Dunedin, FL
August 2019 $296,242
July 2021 $405,713

2 year average sale price for Pinellas Park, FL
August 2019 $189,913
July 2021 $247,109

2 year average sale price for Seminole, FL
August 2019 $278,869
July 2021 $359,235

 

 

Pasco County communities listed below: New Port Richey, Port Richey, Odessa, Holiday, Hudson


2 year average sale price for New Port Richey, FL
August 2019 $216,058
July 2021 $301,023

 
2 year average sale price for Port Richey, FL
August 2019 $133,141
July 2021 $223,533

2 year average sale price for Odessa, FL
August 2019 $421,445
July 2021 $642,321


2 year average sale price for Holiday, FL
August 2019 $143,251
July 2021 $204,702


2 year average sale price for Hudson, FL
August 2019 $188,927
July 2021 $259,839

 

This article is brought to you by The Tom Smith Team.  The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  Our team’s extraordinary sales success is a result of our foundation which is built on trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge and a good reputation in the community. 

We would love to know more about your real estate needs and show you how we can help you achieve your dreams of selling or buying a home.  Call Tom Smith at 727-776-3375 or Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596 today.

See you on the beach soon!

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 4, 2021

Is The Housing Market Starting to Adjust?

More Sellers Listing Homes as Buyers Seem to Hesitate

By Kerry Smith

Realtor.com got 18K more new listings in Aug. 2021 than it did in Aug. 2020 – and more were affordable, entry-level homes. Realtor.com’s economist says it’s still a seller’s market, but a well-priced home might get 3 bids now compared to the 10 it would have received in 2020.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – August housing data shows early signs of sellers beginning to compete for buyers, according to realtor.com’s monthly housing report. It says inventory, while still down year-to-year (25.8%), is still down less than it was just one month earlier (33.5%). The researchers also noted an increase in the rate of sellers making price adjustments.

In August, new listings rose 4.3% year-to-year as new sellers continued to list entry-level homes in more affordable price ranges. The share of sellers who made listing price adjustments grew 0.7% year-over-year to 17.3% of active inventory – the highest share in 21 months and closer to typical 2016-2019 levels.

“Low mortgage rates have motivated homebuyers to endure this year’s challenging market, and now some buyers are starting to see their persistence pay off,” says realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “This month, new sellers added more affordable entry-level homes to the market compared to last year, while others began adjusting listing prices to better compete with an uptick in inventory.”

Hale says it’s still a seller’s market – homes sell quickly and at record-high prices – but now “a home priced well and in good condition may see two or three bids compared to 10 last year. For sellers not seeing as many offers, it may be worth revisiting pricing strategies as buyers continue searching for homes that fit their budgets.”

Florida market changes on realtor.com’s website

Realtor.com includes four Florida metro areas in its study, and the results are mixed. Active listings on realtor.com’s website are down in all four year-to-year:

  • Jacksonville: Down 43.2%
  • Miami (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach): Down 46.6%
  • Orlando (Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford): Down 47.7%
  • Tampa (Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater): Down 40.7%

However, the number of new listings in August rose in two metros, up 2.8% in Jacksonville and up 8.6% in the Tampa area, even as they fell year-to-year in Miami, down 10.2%, and Orlando, down 2.3%.

About one in five sellers reduced their prices in three of the four metros, realtor.com claims, but closer to one in 10 in Miami:

  • Jacksonville: 20.6% reduced prices
  • Miami: 11.7% reduced prices
  • Orlando: 19.3% reduced prices
  • Tampa: 20.7% reduced prices

Other findings in realtor.com’s monthly study for August

  • August was the fourth consecutive month of national inventory improvements from the steepest 2021 declines seen in April (down 53.0%). However, the U.S. housing supply is still short 223,000 active listings compared with last year.
  • Inventory improved at a faster pace across the 50 largest U.S. markets in August, down an average 20.7% year-over-year – but six metros saw inventory surpass 2020 levels.
  • 432,000 new listings hit the national housing market in August, an increase of 18,000 over last year.
  • There were more entry-level homes (up 6.4% for less than 1,750 square feet), while listings with 3,000-6,000 square feet declined 4.6%. The Tampa metro (up 13.7%) had one of the highest year-to-year gains for entry-level homes.
  • The typical U.S. home spent 39 days on the market in August, 17 days faster than last year and 24 days faster than in the same month during 2017-2019, on average. However, time on market continues to moderate from the record-fast pace seen earlier in the pandemic, at two days slower in August than in June (37 days).

© 2021 Florida Realtors®

 

This article is brought to you by The Tom Smith Team.  The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  Our team’s extraordinary sales success is a result of our foundation which is built on trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge and a good reputation in the community. 

We would love to know more about your real estate needs and show you how we can help you achieve your dreams of selling or buying a home.  Call Tom Smith at 727-776-3375 or Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596 today.

See you on the beach soon!

Posted in Market Conditions
Aug. 19, 2021

Rising Costs for Builders Transferring to Buyers

New-Home Material Costs Rose Almost 20% in One Year

Lumber costs – down 30% in July but 72% higher than in Jan. – suggest prices are going down. But they aren’t. Year-to-year steel costs are up 109% and gypsum is up 16%.

CHICAGO – Building materials prices climbed 19.4% over the last 12 months – 13% in 2021 alone – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Buyers are seeing those higher costs in the price of new homes. In June, the median sales price for a new home was $361,800, up 6% compared to a year earlier.

Steel mill product prices increased 10.8% in July following a 6.2% increase in June. Prices have increased 108.6% over the past year and 87.6% in 2021. Steel import tariffs have largely been blamed for the price swing.

Prices for gypsum products, used for drywall, rose 2.5% in July and are up nearly 16% in 2021. Copper has also been in short supply, builders report.

Softwood lumber prices decreased 29% in July, for the largest monthly decline in records dating back to 1947. Lumber costs started to move lower in mid-May. However, the price drop still hasn’t returned lumber to levels close to what they were before the pandemic. It’s down almost 30% since its peak, but it’s still 71.9% above January 2020 levels, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

NAHB says the cumulative effect of all the material costs, based on declining availability, drive up the price of new homes. Some builders are even halting new orders because of the difficulty in pricing projects.

“New residential construction remains strong, but building material pricing and availability are likely to remain significant headwinds,” says Charlie Dougherty, an economist at Wells Fargo.

Source: “Building Material Prices Climbing at Record Year-to-Date Pace,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Aug. 12, 2021); “Rising Cost of Steel, Lumber, and Copper Is Hampering Homebuilding—and Pushing House Prices Out of Reach,” NBC News (June 16, 2021)

© Copyright 2021 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

This article is brought to you by The Tom Smith Team.  The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  Our team’s extraordinary sales success is a result of our foundation which is built on trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge and a good reputation in the community. 

We would love to know more about your real estate needs and show you how we can help you achieve your dreams of selling or buying a home.  Call Tom Smith at 727-776-3375 or Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596 today.

See you on the beach soon!

Posted in Market Conditions
Aug. 19, 2021

Bidding Wars Showing a Decline

Fewer Bidding Wars May Open Door for More Buyers

Buyer competition has shown some signs of easing, however two Fla. metro areas – Tampa and Orlando – remain two of the top 15 U.S. metros for bidding wars.

SEATTLE – Housing market competition may show some signs of easing, as more markets report price cuts and fewer bidding wars. That may open the door to some buyers previously priced-out of the market to find success this fall.

In July, 60% of offers written by real estate professionals nationwide faced competition, but that’s the lowest level since January, according to an index that measures competing offers among Redfin real estate professionals. The bidding war rate is also significantly down from a pandemic peak of 74% in April. An offer is considered part of a bidding war if at least one competing offer is made.

“Competition has started to slow in the last three weeks,” says Scott Mercer, a real estate professional with Redfin in Sacramento, Calif. “We’re now seeing five to eight offers on homes instead of 25, and they’re coming in $5,000 to $10,000 above the listing price instead of $50,000 to $60,000. Buyers are pushing back. They’ve even started including appraisal contingencies again and making requests for repairs – things that were pretty much unheard of last year.”

Are sellers getting too greedy with list prices?

With more listings coming onto the market, buyers have more homes to choose from, which reduces competition. Also, housing competition typically eases in the summer following the spring homebuying season.

However, nothing about the pandemic-era housing market has strictly followed historical seasonal patterns.

Home prices remain high, which may price out some potential buyers, too. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports that the median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $363,300, up 23.4% compared to a year earlier.

The markets with the largest share of bidding wars in July, according to Redfin’s index, were:

  1. Fort Collins, Colo.: 77.3%
  2. Orlando, Fla.: 77%
  3. Nashville, Tenn.: 74.6%
  4. Honolulu: 74.1%
  5. Colorado Springs, Colo.: 73.2%
  6. Sacramento, Calif.: 72.9%
  7. Charleston, S.C.: 71.4%
  8. Charlotte, N.C.: 70.8%
  9. San Diego: 69.8%
  10. Las Vegas: 68.6%
  11. Tucson, Ariz.: 68.4%
  12. Tampa, Fla.: 66.7%
  13. Denver: 66.5%
  14. San Francisco/San Jose: 66.3%
  15. San Antonio: 66.3%

Source: “Homebuyer Bidding War Rate Drops to Lowest Level Since January,” Redfin (Aug. 16, 2021)

© Copyright 2021 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


This article is brought to you by The Tom Smith Team.  
The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  Our team’s extraordinary sales success is a result of our foundation which is built on trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge and a good reputation in the community. 

We would love to know more about your real estate needs and show you how we can help you achieve your dreams of selling or buying a home.  Call Tom Smith at 727-776-3375 or Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596 today.

See you on the beach soon!

Posted in Market Conditions
Aug. 14, 2021

Housing Market Report Clearwater St. Pete Beach July 2021

 

Market Update for Clearwater Beach 33767

The housing market for all property types in the Clearwater Beach area continues to show strong gains in July.  The median price of all home types jumped 40.2% year over year.  Homes are going under contract on average within 13 days of listing and selling for as much as 96% of original list price.  Closed sales slipped this month, but we already see a rise in new listings going into August.  The median price for single family homes was $1,235,000 in July up 7.4% YOY.  Single family home closings average about 8-10 a month and only 6-8 new listings per month come on the market. 

The condo market had 65 new listings the highest in 12 months.  There were only 37 closed condo sales in July which was the lowest number since May of 2020.  The average sale price of a condo was $791,403 up 38% YOY and the second highest average in the last 2 years.  Condos were in line selling for 96.7% of list price and selling quickly going under contract in 13 days.  Inventory was the highest in 4 months but still well below anything normal at just .91 months.

One thing for sure is this market is anything but normal.  Typically, the next few months should be the slower months for real estate here.  But may not be the case now.  Some buyers have gotten frustrated and dropped out of the house hunt for now.  However, many buyers are still active, and more are surely on the way of there is any other type of lockdown scenario.  Florida appears it will remain open for business.  Clearwater remains one of the nicest places to call home and we hope to see you on your next visit.

*        Total sold dollar volume July $54,169,425, up 16.7% YOY

*        Closed sales 47, down 29.9% YOY.  In June of 2021 there were 70 closings.  The 2-year high was 83 in April of 2021.  The 5-year monthly average is 62.

*        Median Sold Price $715,000, up 40.2% YOY from July 2020 $510,000.  The 5-year average is $541,500.

*        Median days properties are staying on the market 13.  Last month it was 10 and one year ago it was 14.

*        Months of Inventory is up 20% MOM to 1.06 months.  Down 76.7% YOY from one year ago when there was over 4 months of inventory available.

*        New Listings are up 42.3% to 74.  In July of 2020 there were 92.  The 5-year average is 62.

*        Average Sale Price to List Price Ratio is up to 96%.  In July of 2020 it was 92.2% and the 5-year average is 93.4%.

*Stats are for the Clearwater Beach area 33767 zip code and includes all property types for the month of July 2021.

 

Housing Market Update for St. Pete Beach 33706

The housing market for all property types in the St. Pete Beach area showed strong gains in July much like Clearwater Beach.  Homes are still more affordable than Clearwater Beach by $215,000 according to the median home price stat.  The median home price for a single-family home was $942,500 the third highest mark in the last 5-years.  The condo market in St. Pete is also at 5-year highs with room for prices to climb.  Properties are going under contract fast with no signs letting up.  Sellers are testing the market and coming out on top getting close to 100% of listing price.

The condo market had just 40 new listings the lowest since April 2020.  New listings for condos have been high the last 4 months setting new highs so this month may be the market taking a step back to regroup.  There were 56 closed condo sales in July which was about the average for the last 2 years.  New listings are down so inventory could be even tighter the next month or two.  The average sale price of a condo rose considerably to $590,306 up 59.1% YOY the highest in the last 5 years.  Condos in St. Pete are selling for 99.3% of list price, this too at the highest levels in 5 years.  The median time a condo is staying on the market is just 6 days. 

*        Total sold dollar volume July $56,454,723, up 8.9% YOY

*        Closed sales 77, down 17.2% YOY.  In July of 2020 there were 93 total closings, and the 2-year high was 107 in March 2021.  The 5-year monthly average is 74. 

*        Median Sold Price $500,000, up 8.7% YOY from July 2020 $460,000.  The 5-year average is $428,600.

*        Median days properties are staying on the market 7.  Last month it was 6 days and one year ago it was 38 days.

*        Months of Inventory is up slightly to .78 from .60 in June.   Inventory is down 70.6% YOY.  The 2-year high was April 2019 when it was 4.06 months.

*        New Listings were up 4.3% YOY to 73 and slightly higher than the 5-year average of new listings in July of 66.  The 2-year high was March 2021 with 101 new listings.

*        Average Sale Price to List Price Ratio is 98.8% up 1.9% YOY.  In July of 2020 it was 94.6% and the 5-year average is 94.2%.

*Stats are for the St. Pete Beach area 33706 zip code and includes all property types for the month of July 2021.

Thank you for reading our housing market report for the beaches of Clearwater and St. Pete.  We hope you have found it helpful.  If you would like a custom report of a particular condo community, neighborhood, city, or county please let us know by emailing stephen@tomsmithteam.com

If you are interested in listing your home for sale or have questions about the buying process here, we would love to hear from you today.  You can call or text Tom Smith at 727-776-3375 or Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596 today.  

The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  Our team’s extraordinary sales success is a result of our foundation which is built on trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge and an excellent reputation in the community. 

 

See you on the beach soon! 

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 13, 2021

Florida's Housing Market Positive Trends Through Q2

 

Florida Realtors’ data: Sales, new listings and median prices are up (24.3% for single-family homes, 20.8% for condos) from a year ago. Chief Economist O’Connor: Mortgage rates, while low, are no longer falling, which will gradually reduce competition until price growth falls back to a more normal pace.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s housing market continued to show strong gains in 2Q 2021, with more closed sales, rising median prices and more new listings compared to 2Q 2020, according to the latest housing data from Florida Realtors®. Florida’s lockdown order due to the COVID-19 pandemic took effect April 1, 2020.

“Florida usually has a very strong spring homebuying season, but due to the pandemic, last year was clearly a major exception to the rule,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “This year, though, we were back in business – and then some. Second quarter closed sales of existing single-family homes increased by 43.3% year-over-year (totaling 98,414), and were up nearly 16% compared to the 2Q 2019. Sales growth in the condo and townhouse resale market was even stronger, rising 117% (a total of 48,976 sales) compared to last year and up by almost 44% compared to two years ago.”

Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2Q 2020 was $345,000, up 24.3% from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties during the quarter was $250,000, up 20.8% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

“Florida home prices always tend to rise the most during the first half of the year, but even taking that into consideration, price growth this year has still been well in excess of recent norms,” O’Connor says. “Falling mortgage rates last year allowed buyers to make bids on higher-priced homes. The competition this created among buyers is what’s driven prices up so much.”

However, so far this year, mortgage rates – while still low – are no longer falling, he notes.

“This will have the gradual effect of pricing more prospective buyers out of the market, which will reduce the level of competition until price growth falls back to a more normal pace,” he says. This transition will also be aided by recent increases in the number of homes being listed for resale. New listings of single-family homes in 2Q 2021 were up 24.2% vs. a year ago and over 8% compared to 2019. In the condo and townhouse category, new listings were up 27% compared to 2020 and over 15% compared to 2019.

In 2Q 2021, the median time to a contract (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time) was nine days for single-family homes and 20 days for condo-townhouse properties.

Inventory was at a 1.1-months’ supply in the first quarter for single-family homes and at a 1.7-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.0% for 2Q 2021, down from the 3.23% average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to the Florida Realtors Newsroom at http://floridarealtors.org/newsroom and look under Latest Releases, or download the 2Q 2021 data report PDFs under Market Data on the site.

© 2021 Florida Realtors®

Thank you for visiting our blog today.  If you are interested in listing your home for sale or have questions about the buying process here, we would love to hear from you today.  You can call or text Tom Smith at 727-776-3375 or Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596 today.  

The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  Our team’s extraordinary sales success is a result of our foundation which is built on trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge and an excellent reputation in the community.  

See you on the beach soon! 

Posted in Market Updates
July 26, 2021

5 Reasons To Sell Now

The Tom Smith Team has sold over $175,000,000 and is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.  If you are considering listing your home we can make a huge difference in your selling experience, from stress level to your profits.  Our team’s extraordinary sales success is a result of our foundation which is built on trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge and a good reputation in the community.  Call Tom Smith at 727-776-3375 or Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596 today.

 

Posted in Tips For Sellers
July 26, 2021

Do's and Don'ts of Owning a Vacation Rental

Are you considering buying a second home with plans on renting it part time, or, just looking for a property with good income potential you can rent full time?  If you are making plans on purchasing a vacation home this is exciting news!  I have helped many clients find the right property that produces generous returns year in and year out.  You could too.  Before you begin the process, I would recommend we connect and allow me to share with you my expertise of the vacation rental market here on the beaches.  Getting expert help early in the process will ensure you find the right property with excellent income potential.  Call or text Kristin Vincelli at 727-686-1596.  Kristin is vacation home/condo specialist who is ranked in the top 1% of all agents in Pinellas County.   

Here are 8 things to consider before buying a Vacation Rental. 

 

July 26, 2021

Canadian Border Reopening Big Boost to Florida Tourism Expected

Canada to Reopen Its Borders on Aug. 9

By Jim Turner

In a likely boost for Fla. tourism and real estate, the Canadian government will ease border rules in Aug. Fla. Policy and Budget official expects “a big jump in people.”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State economists expressed optimism that already-rebounding tourism numbers will see a quicker-than-anticipated boost from international travelers as Canada eases COVID-19 border restrictions.

While the White House hasn’t announced decisions yet about Canadian travelers entering the United States, members of Florida’s Economic Estimating Conference said Tuesday they anticipate changes that will make it more convenient for people traveling south of the U.S.-Canada border.

“The borders closed. The border opens. You’re going to have a big jump in people,” Holger Ciupalo, policy coordinator for the governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, said as the economists looked at a long-range outlook for Florida’s economy.

On Monday, the Canadian government announced that, starting Aug. 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks. Children under 12 who are not approved to receive vaccines will also be exempt from the quarantine rule, so long as they follow public-health measures such as avoiding certain group settings, including camps and day care.

Even with growing uncertainty about the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which sent the stock market reeling on Monday, the panel of Florida economists forecast that Canadian travel would reach pre-pandemic figures earlier than the first quarter of 2022.

With less than 48% of eligible Florida residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research, expressed hesitancy about being too optimistic in forecasting travel because of the Delta variant.

But Ciupalo said he expects the White House to match the Canadian border-policy changes within the next three weeks.

“Yes, you have the Delta variant coming out. However, Canada’s over 70% vaccinated. They’re still getting vaccinated,” Ciupalo says. “Yes, the U.S. is lacking on that. Be that as it may. So, I do not think that the forecast for Canadians should come down from wherever it is right now.”

The United States and Canada restricted non-essential travel across the border because of the pandemic. On Monday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that international travel decisions await guidance from public-health and medical experts.

“We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts. I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention,” she said.

Canadian travel into Florida for the first quarter of 2021 was down 97.2% from the same period in 2020, with Florida attracting 34,000 Canadians during the period, according to Visit Florida numbers.

The state’s tourism-promotion agency also estimated that overall international tourism was down 74.4% during the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. The state drew an estimated 564,000 overseas visitors the first three months of the year, with many nations imposing border screening and other travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

Second-quarter numbers from Visit Florida aren’t expected to be released until next month. Those numbers are expected to easily top the second quarter of 2020, when the tourism industry bottomed out because of the pandemic.

Florida this year drew an overall 26.16 million visitors from Jan. 1 to March 31, down from 30.4 million tourists during the first quarter of 2020, according to Visit Florida.

Vesselka McAlarney, who conducts economic forecasts for the Office of Economic & Demographic Research, said this year’s first-quarter numbers might be in part “artificially boosted” by former part-time residents and online workers permanently relocating to Florida. But that shouldn’t impact the anticipated growth in international travel to Florida.

Florida attracted an estimated 79.75 million tourists in 2020, a 39.3% drop from 2019. The 2020 figures were the lowest in a decade for a state that relies heavily on tourism to fuel its economy.

Until the pandemic, Florida posted nine consecutive years of increased tourism numbers, topped by 131.4 million travelers in 2019.

The pandemic began hammering the state’s economy in March 2020, amid a period of the year that includes tourist draws such as spring break and baseball spring training. The number of tourists fell to 9.92 million in the second quarter of 2020, a 69.4% drop from the prior year, before increasing to 20.33 million in the third quarter and 19.096 million in the fourth quarter.

Source: News Service of Florida