Or­lando-area town­house, condo mar­ket heat­ing up

Orlando Sentinel - - BUSINESS - By Mary Shanklin Staff Writer mshanklin@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com or 407-420-5538

With Or­lando home prices ris­ing six times faster than wages in the past year, com­pe­ti­tion has revved up for con­dos and town­houses, a new re­port shows.

The smaller, more af­ford­able res­i­den­tial op­tions rep­re­sented just 12 per­cent of the 3,508 home sales in an area of mostly Orange and Semi­nole coun­ties last month. But prices of those units rose at more than triple the rate of sin­gle­fam­ily houses dur­ing the past year, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port by Or­lando Re­gional Re­al­tor As­so­ci­a­tion.

“What we have es­sen­tially done is come full cir­cle with rent ver­sus pur­chase, and right now, the pen­du­lum has swung to pur­chase,” said Thomas Allen, bro­ker with Ur­ban­ista, which spe­cial­izes in down­town Or­lando res­i­den­tial.

He said condo and town­house prices have spiked to the point where de­vel­op­ers will likely look at build­ing an­other con­do­minium tower down­town at some point dur­ing the next two years, as av­er­age sales prices con­tinue in­creas­ing above $300 a square foot. It has been about a decade since the ur­ban core saw a new condo tower, he added.

The mid­point price for a sin­gle­fam­ily home in the core Or­lando mar­ket dur­ing March was $249,900, which was up 6 per­cent from a year ear­lier. Prices for con­do­mini­ums and town­houses were about half that amount and in­creased more than 19 per­cent dur­ing that time.

Stress on buy­ers con­tin­ues to mount in Cen­tral Florida with mid­point wages of $58,406 re­main­ing roughly flat for the pre­vi­ous year­long pe­riod, while home prices have grown about 6 per­cent. In­ter­est rates re­mained flat from a year ear­lier and edged down slightly to 4.29 per­cent in March from Fe­bru­ary.

In ad­di­tion, the sup­ply of list­ings has shrunk to near-record lev­els of 2.2 months, which is down from a year and a month ear­lier.

From a month ear­lier, the over­all me­dian price for all types of Or­lando-area hous­ing in March was largely flat at $230,000, de­spite the down­turn in sup­ply. Sales were also rel­a­tively flat from Fe­bru­ary.

“Or­lando’s hous­ing mar­ket con­tin­ues to be tugged by op­pos­ing fac­tors, such as low in­ven­tory and high de­mand,” said as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Lou Nimkoff of Brio Real Es­tate Ser­vices. “The re­sult is a wash for sales … ”

Of the four coun­ties in the Metro Or­lando area, only Osce­ola showed an in­crease in year-over-year sales, with 5.9 per­cent growth. Lake County sales de­clined 4.4 per­cent; Semi­nole County was down 3.7 per­cent; and Orange County sales slipped 2.9 per­cent from a year ago.

The smaller res­i­den­tial op­tions rep­re­sented just 12 per­cent of the 3,508 home sales in an area of mostly Orange and Semi­nole coun­ties last month.

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