HOA management companies overcome pandemic setbacks as demand grows

Article Courtesy of  The South Florida Business Journal

By Eman Elshahawy

Published January 30, 2022


As South Florida’s housing market skyrocketed last year, the demand for homeowners association management companies subsequently grew.

While there is more need for these companies, the pandemic unleashed a Pandora’s box of health risks that challenged associations with implementing CDC-recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of staff and residents.

This has borne additional costs for necessities such as hand sanitizer and cleaning goods, and added more stress for owners who may be required to wear masks in shared spaces including hallways and clubhouses.

James Donnelly, CEO of Plantation-based Castle Group, said his company accounted for the setbacks of the pandemic by optimizing its services for residents through a technology platform it's been using since before the pandemic.

“People like to self-help and would rather go online to get information or pay their maintenance fees than go down to the management office or call, and that accelerated with Covid,” he said.

In addition to instituting closed-door policies for the management offices, this helped reduce the risk of spreading the virus by minimizing in-person contact between residents and employees, Donnelly said.

The firm’s use of proactive communication, streamlined through the technology it already had, helped it post a 6.25% increase in the number of associations served and 11,000 more units managed – or nearly 33,000 more people, as Donnelly noted the average dwelling in South Florida has at least three residents.

Similarly, West Palm Beach-based Seacrest Services reported growth in the same areas, gaining traction from its pre-pandemic acquisition of Southwest Property Management, along with increased movement in the association market, co-CEO Anjanette Hanna said.

“While there were some negatives due to Covid, I think one of the positives was we were able to capitalize on the movement locally and in our other markets,” she said.

Hanna and her partner, co-CEO Bryan Fowler, believe that this movement in the industry, along with the firm’s expansion prior to Covid, gave the company the capacity advantage it would need for the weight of the current market.

Both executives have an optimistic outlook for the future of the industry as the momentum of the market continues to grow.

The List:
Homeowners Association Management Companies in South Florida
Rank Company S. Fla. homeowner/condo associations serviced:

  1. FirstService Residential 1,550

  2. Seacrest Services 715

  3. Castle Group 425