For many millennials, the dream of homeownership was far off. But one of the most unusual yet positive fallouts from the coronavirus pandemic has been some younger adults seeing the value of low-cost living.
"I'm fortunate to have been able to save during the pandemic," Paige Feingenbaum said.
The 34-year-old was able to keep her job during the pandemic.
"I now have five digits in my bank account," she said. "I just personally never thought that could be possible for me."
She's in a much better financial position and able to move forward as a first-time homebuyer
"I'm able to save so much money by not going to ticketed events, not going to movies, not eating at restaurants, spending so much more time at home," she said.
Bonnie Heatzig, a South Florida Realtor, said her clients have shared that COVID-19 taught some valuable life lessons.
"Life under lockdown has definitely changed the financial habits of a lot of millennials. Two out of three millennials are also saying the lockdown had a positive effect on their savings," she said. "In the pre-COVID period, there was a tremendous amount of social pressure on millennials to go to the right restaurants. They memorialized their evenings out on social media. There was this fear of missing out."
Now, the value of homeownership is back.
"Circles back to the importance of loving the space you are in," Heatzig said.
Feingenbaum now wonders if she'll be more of a homebody.
"Which is enabling them to make that down payment," Heatzig said.
But it's not necessarily an easy market for buyers.
"It's a very strong seller's market," she said. "The inventory is very low."
Part of that spreads beyond new first-time buyers to "people who are looking to relocate to South Florida from crowded metropolitan areas," Heatzig said.
It's a new yet crowded field in the South Florida real estate market.
This story was first reported by Tory Dunnan at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.