Florida’s rural real estate is booming amid COVID-19 pandemic

While so many industries are suffering because of COVID-19, rural real estate is booming. An Ocala realtor says people are leaving the big city for the countryside because of the pandemic.

“That was not a way of life, definitely, not one that we wanted to experience,” said Pietro Cottone, recently moved to Marion County from Orange County.

Pietro and Patty Cottone recently moved to Marion County from Orlando, trading in the city life for rural life.

“You could open our window and ask for a cup of coffee from our neighbor, that‘s how close you were,” said Patty Cottone, recently moved to Marion County from Orange County.

The couple says the close proximity to people during a pandemic worried them. They also felt cramped in their cookie-cutter subdivision.

“You’re confined in your house but you’re confined in the city itself,” said Patty Cottone

The couple is not alone. Realtor Elisha Lopez says people are flocking to Marion County.

“Real estate is just on fire,” said Elisha Lopez, Owner/Broker, Ocala Realty World, “about 700 buyers are moving from outside of Florida to Marion County, every month.”

She’s seen an 11% bump in home sales since the start of the pandemic. Many buyers coming northeast cities, especially New York City, once the U.S. epicenter of the Coronavirus.

“Being on lockdown, being in close quarters or renting and not having a lot of space, that they’re looking at things a lot differently now,” said Lopez.

Space isn’t the only incentive of rural living. You’ll also get more bang for your buck. Lopez says for $225,000 you can get a brand new, four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a two-car garage, on at least a quarter-acre.

The Cottone’s say they are at ease, more than ever before.

“Living a better quality life is at the top of most people’s list now, it’s not all about the hustle and bustle,” said Patty Cottone.

“Like they say, there’s always blessings that come from the storm and these are definitely blessings happening in our area, right now from what happened with COVID,” said Lopez.