A summer survey found that over 90% of snowbirds expected to return to Fla. this winter – but sentiments have dipped a bit since the COVID delta variant hit.

SARASOTA, Fla. – After staying home last winter, more Canadian snowbirds plan to return to Florida in 2021. Wallace Weylie, legal counsel for the Canadian Snowbird Association, said there seems to be a lot of pent-up demand from regular snowbirds to return to a warmer climate.

“The sentiment is that they’re not going to spend another winter in Canada,” he says.

The first year of COVID-19 saw a lot of Canadian snowbirds deciding to stay home, said Stephen Fine, president and managing editor of Snowbird Advisor. A survey conducted by the publication last year found that only about 30% of snowbirds returned to their usual sunny destinations for the 2021 season.

This year, things look more positive, Fine said. But sentiments have dipped a little bit since the delta variant started a new COVID wave.

“We did survey in the summer before cases went up, and at that point, the expectation was over 90% of snowbirds would return,” Fine says. “We don’t think at this point we’re going to hit 90-plus, that would be almost pre-pandemic levels. So it’ll probably be somewhere between last year and that – probably 50-60%.”

Despite the strength of the Sarasota area real estate market, local real estate agents say Canadian buyers haven’t done much purchasing since the pandemic began. Some of the older Canadian homeowners are selling their Florida properties, while the younger, active adults in their 50s and 60s are holding onto their assets, hoping for better post-pandemic days. 

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (09/19/21) Finaldi, Laura

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