Tip Sheet: Data Shows Big City Homeowners Are Migrating To Smaller Metro Areas

Impacts of COVID-19, cost of living, and increasing quality of life is driving urban Americans to relocate, REX is helping users by out-of-state real estate online

(JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, Tuesday, June 30) - Take a virtual tour of a REX residential listing with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and a local REX buyer in Jacksonville followed by a Q&A. Hear about market trends and opportunities presented by innovation and technology in real estate.

REX (rexhomes.com) was made for this moment…REX, a real estate technology company operating in Florida’s small metro markets of Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, is connecting buyers and sellers online at a time when real estate in Florida is in decline due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic...Nevertheless, opportunities exist as consumers continue to seek out value and convenience to sell their property or purchase their next home.

REX’s real estate business in Jacksonville is growing despite a global pandemic and local and state shelter-in-place guidelines which have slowed traditional real estate transactions across Florida.

Why? REX is at the convergence of real estate and technology...REX is the only real estate company using AI and dedicated online tools to make purchasing a home straightforward and cost-effective during a global pandemic...Despite the coronavirus, online real estate transactions and virtual home tours are on the rise across Jacksonville...Positive growth represents a real opportunity for Jacksonville’s recovery and economic future.

How?REX delivers a full-service online platform for residential real estate buyers and sellers while offering the lowest transaction costs in the industry.

  • REX is currently operating in markets across 17 states and has been active in the local Jacksonville metro area for the past year.

  • REX offers a 2-2.5 percent transaction as opposed to the traditional 6-6.5 percent fee.

  • REX has built a full-service online platform that offers greater convenience to consumers looking to buy and sell real estate. This includes virtual tours, listing your home, title, escrow, mortgage, insurance, relocation and moving, landscaping, marketing, and photography.

You need to know...REX’s local seller leads in Jacksonville are up 79 percent since the start of COVID-19...REX is listing 57 percent more homes right now across Florida compared to June 2019...Florida escrows at REX have increased 10x since January 2020...We have seen a 100 percent spike in virtual home tours of REX’s Florida listings during the COVID-19 pandemic...REX could have saved Floridians $3.3 billion over the last 12 months utilizing our low cost transaction fees...Lower transaction fees can stimulate jobs dependent on a healthy real estate market (construction, insurance, movers, landscaping, etc).

Deeper dive on REX’s growth in Florida and Jacksonville

Despite declines in the overall housing volume across Florida during COVID-19, REX is experiencing a significant uptick in seller leads, pointing to ongoing interest in real estate transactions during the pandemic.

  • Floridians are increasingly contacting REX about selling their home in 2020. Seller leads in May 2020 were up 190 percent compared to the previous year. Interest in REX continues to grow despite the COVID-19 crisis - leads have grown 33 percent since shelter in place orders were issued in February 2020. The outlook for growth at REX in 2020 is highly positive with seller leads in June 2020 up by 97 percent since the beginning of the year.

  • In the Jacksonville metro area, local sellers are turning to REX at a high rate. Since January 2020, seller interest is up 79 percent.

  • Local seller leads have jumped 30 percent since shelter in place guidelines went into effect.

Florida Listings at REX are on the rise, indicating strong consumer confidence in online real estate transactions.

  • The summer real estate season in Florida is off to a strong start at REX. Even without complete figures for the month of June, listings at REX have increased 57 percent compared to the previous year.

Virtual Home Tours at REX are also on the rise across Florida. Buyers are continuing to seek out deals despite COVID-19. REX offers the most convenient way to search for a home and make an offer at the greatest value thanks to the lowest transaction costs available.

  • Prior to COVID-19, 17 percent of home tours at REX were virtual. Since shelter in place guidelines were issued in February, tours have skyrocketed by 1,000 percent as potential buyers continue to look for their next home.

  • Across Florida, buyers have caught on to REX’s virtual showing feature - the first of its kind in the real estate industry. As of June 2020, we are experiencing a 100 percent increase since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

  • In the local Jacksonville market, virtual home tours have increased a full 250 percent  since February 2020.

Escrows at REX show Floridians are increasingly seeking out value and convenience to sell and purchase real estate.

  • Thus far in June 2020, REX escrows in Florida have increased 10x compared to the end of June 2019. Despite the COVID-19 crisis and shelter in place orders keeping buyers indoors, REX is moving listings across the state into escrow at a rapid rate - up 27 percent since March 2020 and 75 percent since the beginning of the year.

  • In Jacksonville, escrows have increased 3x since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Since the beginning of 2020, escrows are up 50 percent.

Consumers are saving tens of thousands of dollars via REX’s online platform. Translates to commitment to major opportunities for the state’s economy and hardworking families. 

  • In Florida, sellers have saved more than half a million dollars in equity since we entered the market.

  • Across the state of Florida, the total MLS sale volume from June 2019 to May 2020 was $110 billion. Our analysis shows Florida consumers pay an average 2.5 percent transaction fee through REX, so they are saving approximately 3 percent off the standard 5.5 percent fee. 

  • When you consider the total sales volume, REX could have saved Floridians $3.3 billion over the last 12 months.

During COVID-19, buyers are leaving large metro areas such as New York and have expressed interest in relocating to Florida’s smaller media markets (Wall Street Journal Editorial).

  • Rising housing prices, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and historic unemployment has prompted many large urban metro area residents to rethink their next chapter in life.

  • New Yorkers’ interest in Florida properties via the REX platform has exploded. We have seen a 640 percent increase during COVID-19 (March to June) compared to the same time period in 2019.

  • At REX, we have seen a 40 percent increase in New York buyers considering homes in Jacksonville compared to March 1 to June 25 in 2019.

Florida & Jacksonville Real Estate Market Trends

You need to know...Florida’s real estate market was still struggling to recover from the 2008 housing before COVID-19 made the problem even worse...As the state continues to respond to the impacts of the pandemic, real estate activity in Florida has suffered a new decline...Year over year sales in May 2020 were down 36 percent with the dollar volume of home sales dropping from $10.9 billion to $6.9 billion...During the same time period, active listings in Florida were also down from 94,000 to 77,000, a decline of 18 percent...In Jacksonville, total home sales in May 2020 fell by 29 percent in a year over year comparison with May 2019.

Remember, with historic unemployment, job mobility is impacted by housing affordability…Homeownership and housing affordability remains a major issue across Florida.


Overall, homeownership in Florida has declined during the pandemic: Prior to COVID-19, the homeownership rate in Florida was 66 percent (2019), still not recovered from the pre-Great Recession high of 72 percent in 2006. 

  • For single family (SF) homes, year-over-year (YoY) sales declined by 36 percent from 31,000 homes in May 2019 to about 20,000 in May 2020.

  • This was the largest YoY drop for a month in 2020, as May and June typically see the largest number of home sales in Florida each year.

Housing Volume

Volume in Florida is down: In May 2020, the YoY inventory of active listings for SF homes fell from 94,000 to 77,000, an 18 percent drop; the monthly supply of inventory contracted from 4.0 to 3.3 months.

  • The dollar volume of home sales in May 2020 fell 36 percent YoY, from $10.9 billion to $6.9 billion.

  • Cash sales fell by almost 50 percent over the same period.

  • The days from listing date to contract date for SF homes fell 22 percent YoY in May, to a median of 32 days.

  • In Jacksonville, SF home and townhouse and condo sales fell by 29 percent and 37 percent, respectively.

Housing Affordability

The majority of Floridians would benefit from affordability solutions: Pre-crisis, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition estimated that about 540,000, or 21 percent, of renter households in Florida are extremely low income; this translates to a shortage of about 400,000 rental homes affordable to extremely low income renters.

  • According to June 2020 data from RealtyHop, Miami (#2), Tampa (#28), Orlando (#43) are among the least affordable metro areas in the country.

Housing Values

Values in Florida are remaining stable: The sales price for southern Florida homes has been largely stable: the median sales price for May 2020 was up 1.5 percent YoY, whereas average sales prices fell slightly, by 0.3 percent.

Perspective on the economy during COVID-19 (From Freddie Mac quarterly economic forecast, released June 16, 2020):

  • “Due to the deterioration in the labor market, the wages and salaries component of income fell 8 percent in April—the largest monthly drop since data collection began in the 1950s. However, due to the CARES Act, the stimulus led to a 90 percent or $3 trillion increase in government income transfers to consumers. The massive rise in supplemental income to consumers from the stimulus more than offset the decrease in wages and led to an 11 percent increase in total personal income—the largest monthly increase on record.”

  • “Although consumer income rose substantially in April, consumer spending declined 14 percent and this decrease was broad based across many consumer segments. The combination of a large increase in income growth combined with a large drop in spending led to a spike in the savings rate, which rose to a record 33 percent in April, up from 12.7 percent in March.”

What Others Are Saying

REX CEO & Co-Founder Jack Ryan

“When we founded REX, we knew real estate consumers were moving online and demanding greater value and fuller service in this industry. Long before COVID-19, we set up our business to meet those needs and I am pleased to see REX helping buyers and sellers achieve their goals during such an extraordinary moment in history. We think the digital push in real estate is here to stay, and we are betting on the consumer as we build out our tools and services.”

Florida Governor Jeb Bush

“The story of real estate in Florida is one of great opportunity and entrepreneurial spirit.  REX’s online platform matches Florida sellers with buyers from all over the world. In the middle of a global pandemic, REX’s innovative tools and business model are empowering consumers and putting more money in the pockets of sellers.”

Scott McNealy, Founder of Sun Microsystems, REX Board Member & Advisor

“REX has assembled a winning team focused on breaking down traditional barriers in real estate and giving consumers greater control and value over their buying and selling experience. I am excited to see how REX scales their offerings to serve real estate consumers and achieve greater heights as a company.” 

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