Orlando Real Estate Spotlight

Sunshine State is Heating Up

Today, much of the country will have temperature highs in the 50s, 40s, 30s (and in a few places, 20s) while the home of our market spotlight will hit a top temp of 83 degrees. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Orlando, one of the largest cities in the Sunshine State, depends on its sunny skies for the health of its housing market. Snowbirds and international investors snatch up condos or second homes to spend their winters in warmer weather.

But the temperature isn’t the only thing heating up in the Southern state; Florida real estate is recovering as home sales rise and inventory falls. In 2011, existing home sales rose a total of 8 percent as compared with 2010. The hottest areas in the state are beach cities like Fort Meyers and Fort Lauderdale, both of which are on Inman’s list of the 10 metros that saw the biggest year-over-year boom in home prices during 2011 (at #1 and #8, respectively).


Orlando: Short Sales Dominate the Housing Market

Orlando, which sits farther away from the beaches, is growing slower than the state as a whole, with existing home sales rising only 2 percent over the year, but if you remember the recap we did earlier this month, Orlando tops the list of forecasted gainers for 2012 with prices expected to rise nearly 12 percent.

Data from ZipRealty

So what’s going on in Orlando? According to ZipRealty Realtor® Rosemary Carr, short sales are driving real estate in Orlando. “Orlando is a hot market,” she says, “and we’re going to be seeing short sales for a long, long time.” According to a report from last month, short sales make up 73 percent of all pending transactions. And they have buoyed the median home sales price nearly 10 percent.

Awesome, right? Not exactly. While it’s great that prices are inching up, short sale transactions can be tricky and fall apart at the last minute. Many of the short sales will be unsuccessful and the homes will go into foreclosure. Orlando, like much of Florida, has not pulled out of the foreclosure crisis just yet. According to RealtyTrac, Florida had the second highest rate of foreclosure in December 2011, with 1 in every 360 homes for sale being foreclosures.

The 2012 presidential race confirms that lots of homeowners are still slipping into delinquency on their mortgages. No matter if you’re listening to Obama’s State of the Union address or the battle for Florida in next week’s Republican primary, you’ll be sure to hear these issues addressed. Foreclosure isn’t going away soon.


Rosemary Carr: Local Real Estate Expert

Enough doom and gloom and back to the sunshine. Rosemary is totally upbeat about Orlando’s future. “Orlando will always be a good market—people want to live in Orlando. There are always people retiring here who want to move to the warmer weather, and a lot of foreign investors buying vacation homes.” Although the majority of the transactions are short sales, the competition is getting tough and values are beginning to rise. This is one of the many reasons we can expect a great performance from Orlando in 2012.

But Orlando promises much more than tourism and a place to relax. “There is a lot of new development here,” Rosemary says, “with the new Lake Nona Medical City and a lot of tech industries moving into downtown. But prices are all over the place—some areas of the city are still totally depressed.” Yet another reason to know your micro-market and use your local agent to get the best price profile for your area.

Since we’re also doing a buyer series here on ZipRealty’s blog, I asked Rosemary what her advice was for first-timers in the market for houses for sale in Orlando. “Since offers are hot, you need to offer the highest and best if you’re looking in Orlando. Don’t wait, especially since it’s a short sale market. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row.”

Have all your ducks in a row: excellent advice for anyone looking to buy a home. We hope we can help you do just that. Check back for more posts in our buyer series!


Sources: HousingWire, MarketWatch, Inman, Realty Trac