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Orlando Home Sales Continue To Rise As Housing Affordability Hits Record High

Orlando Home Sales Continue To Rise As Housing Affordability Hits Record High


(News Source: Orlando Regional Realtor Association)

(ORLANDO, FL) -- Orlando area home sales have again experienced an increase in activity, with members of the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association involved in the sale of 47.59 percent more homes in March of this year than March of last year: 1,653 to 1,120.

In addition, Orlando REALTORS filed 76.06 percent more contracts in the month of March (2,956) than in March 2008 (1,679). Overall, pending sales -- considered by housing economists to be a reliable indicator of future sales -- continued its upward trend in March to 4,906. There were more than twice as many homes under contract in March 2009 than compared to March 2009 (2,398).

"Orlando homebuyers are getting back into the market and taking advantage of the improved affordability," says ORRA President Les Simmonds, L.G. Simmonds Real Estate Corp. "Lower prices, record low interest rates, and a vast selection of homes give homebuyers increased buying power, making it an excellent time to buy a home. This is especially true for first-time buyers who are eligible for the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit."

The median price of all Orlando homes sold in March ($137,000) decreased by 37.73 percent compared to March 2008 while the area's average interest rate dropped yet again to 4.67 percent, its lowest point on record.

Of the 1,653 homes sales in March, 49.06 percent of the homes were either bank-owned (700) or distressed (111) homes. The median price of the bank-owned homes sold in March was $95,000, while the median price of distressed homes was $143,500. The median price for the "normal" homes (842) sold in March was $174,995.

The decrease in median price drove the area's affordability index to yet another record high of 192.17 percent. (An affordability index of 99 percent means that buyers earning the state-reported median income are 1 percent short of the income necessary to purchase a median-priced home. Conversely, an affordability index that is over 100 means that median-income earners make more than is necessary to qualify for a median-priced home.) Buyers who earn the reported median income of $52,250 can qualify to purchase one of 12,185 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service (MLS) for $263,270 or less.

The first-time homebuyer affordability index has increased to 136.65 percent. First-time buyers who earn the reported median income of $26,000 can qualify to purchase one of 7,366 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service (MLS) for $159,132 or less.

Homes of all types spent an average of 104 days on the market before being sold in March 2009, and the average home sold for 92.66 percent of its listing. In March 2008 those numbers were 128 and 93.12 percent, respectively.

The majority of single-family homes (181) that changed hands in March 2009 were sold in the $200,000 - $250,000 price range. Eight hundred twenty-four homes sold for less than $200,000 in November, and 144 sold for more than $300,000. On the far ends of the scale, nine homes were sold for $1 million or more while 98 homes sold for less than $50,000.

Inventory

There are currently 21,448 homes available for purchase through the MLS. Inventory decreased by 720 homes from February 2009, which means that 720 more homes left the market than entered the market. Compared to last year, the March 2009 inventory level is 15.80 percent lower than it was in March 2008 (25,472).

The inventory level reflects a 12.98-month supply at the current pace of sales, which is down from the 16.77-month supply recorded in February 2009. Altogether, inventory months-of-supply has declined 39.74 percent since January 2009.

There are 15,407 single-family homes currently listed in the MLS, a number that is 3,790 (19.74 percent) less than this time last year. As usual, most (1,967) are listed in the $200,000 - $250,000 price range. Condos currently make up 4,111 offerings in the MLS, while duplexes/town homes/villas make up the remaining 1,930. Most condos (591) are priced below $50,000; the majority of duplexes/town homes/villas (279) are listed in the $120,000 - $140,000 price category.

Condos and Town Homes/Duplexes/Villas

The sales of condos in the Orlando area have increased by 227.78 percent. A total of 295 condos changed hands in March of this year compared to 90 in March 2008. The most (120) condos in a single price category that changed hands were in the $1 - $50,000 price range, nearly three times the number (44) that were sold in the next most populated category ($50,000 - $60,000).

Orlando homebuyers purchased 119 duplexes, town homes, and villas in March 2009, which is an 8.18 percent increase from March 2008 when 110 of these alternative housing types were purchased. The majority (21) of duplexes, town homes, and villas sold in March 2009 fell into the $120,000 - $140,000 price category.

MSA Numbers

Sales of existing homes within the Orlando MSA (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties) in March were up by 57.98 percent when compared to March of last year. Throughout the entire MSA, 2,139 homes were sold in March 2009 compared with 1,354 in March 2008.

Each county's year-to-date sales comparisons are as follows:

Lake: 21.46 percent above 2008 (798 homes sold to date in 2009 compared to 657 in 2008);

Orange: 60.83 percent above 2008 (2,681 homes sold to date in 2009 compared to 1,667 in 2008);

Osceola: 112.23 percent above 2008 (989 homes sold to date in 2009 compared to 466 in 2008); and

Seminole: 5.79 percent above 2008 (713 sold to date in 2009 compared to 679 in 2008).



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