Florida property is well and truly back. Median property prices have risen for the last 40 months to March 2015, according to figures from the Florida Realtors. Sales in March 2015 were almost a quarter higher than a year earlier, reaching 24,811.
But Orlando real estate sales have performed even better, reaching a 10-year high in March 2015, Orlando Regional Realtor Association data shows.
In fact, agents sold more than three-times the number of houses in March 2015 than during the depths of the market in January 2008, to reach 3,067 – also up 25% from a year ago.
Median prices in the Orlando area also increased by a quarter to $177,500 year-over-year, up 8% on February 2015 and about $100,000 less than the peak-market prices of 2007.
University of Central Florida Finance Professor Stan Smith says the rise is due to homebuyers accessing more affordable mortgages, retirees moving to the region and international buyers picking up properties. Local developer Garrett Kenny of the Feltrim Group, who builds resorts and gated communities, and for whom a large part of his business comes from abroad, says that Orlando is becoming more attractive as an investment; “Uniquely what places like Orlando do, is they work as a traditional real estate investment location – with all the potential for good yields and growth that that entails – , but also as a ‘lifestyle investment’, with some using the properties as a vacation home and renting out while they’re not using it.”
Spring is typically the strongest sales season in the United States, but in Orlando, they have occurred in June and July during the last two decades, so the 10-year record could still be beaten in summer 2015.
Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Sharon Voss says low interest rates, Orlando’s strong economy and rising housing market are all helping to boost sales.
Single-family home sales increased 30% in the last year and the condominium market is up 8%. Final sales prices in March 2015 reached 96.3% of the asking price, a similar figure to the year before.
To further illustrate just how much Orlando’s real estate is in demand, the city was the most searched neighbourhood in 2014 on the Realtor.com website.
The demand for real estate in and around Orlando and for the Disney areas; the neighbourhoods of Davenport, Four Corners, ChampionsGate, Reunion, Kissimmee and Haines City, has contributed to rising property prices across the whole state.
Florida Realtors’ 2015 President Andrew Barbar, says, “Positive growth in Florida’s housing market is encouraging sellers and buyers.”
In March 2015, pending sales for existing single-family homes in Florida rose 12.9% annually and wit townhouse-condo pending sales up 1.4%. New listings for single-family homes rose 8.6% year-over-year and new townhouse-condo listings were up 5.5%.
March marked the 40th consecutive month that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year.
The median sales price for single-family existing homes in Florida in March was $190,000, up 9.2% from the previous year and the median townhouse-condo value was $152,000, up 8.6%. The median is the midpoint, with half the homes selling for more and half for less.
Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr John Tuccillo says, “The housing market continues to thrive on the growing Florida economy – jobs are up and so are sales.”