Orlando Existing Home Sales Uptick 3% Month-over-Month in March; Distress Sales Account for 70% of Transactions

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | April 14, 2011 11:22 AM ET

According to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA), the median price of Orlando area existing-home sales has increased for the third consecutive month to $103,000. However, the March 2011 median price is 6.36 percent less than the median recorded in March 2010.

The increase in overall median price is attributable in part to an increase in the number of "normal" home sales, which have higher selling prices than foreclosures or short sales. The number of normal sales in March (733) is 28.15 percent higher than in February (572).

"Short sales and foreclosures continue to dominate and account for 70.50 percent of sales in March," says ORRA Chairman of the Board Mike McGraw, McGraw Real Estate Services, PL. "A consistently high percentage of these sales types is something that we want to see; the sooner they flush through the system the sooner we can get back to a market based on normal sales."

The lower median price of foreclosures and short sales drags down the overall median price. The median price for bank-owned sales in March is $80,000 and the median price for short sales is $102,500. The median price for "normal" existing homes sold in March is $152,500.

The number (9,510) of homes under contract for purchase in March is a decrease of 6.57 percent compared to those awaiting closing in March 2010. However, there are 3.11 percent more homes currently under contract than were last month (9,223), most likely the first sign of the market's typical spring/summer swell.

The Orlando affordability index decreased to a still-rocking 255.05 percent in March. (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 $53,618 can qualify to purchase one of 9,052 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service for $242,297 or less.

First-time homebuyer affordability in March decreased to 181.37 percent from last month's 197.29 percent, which can be attributed in part to the rise in median price. First-time buyers who earn the reported median income of $36,460 can qualify to purchase one of 6,141 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service for $146,455 or less.

Homes of all types spent an average of 103 days on the market before coming under contract in March 2011, and the average home sold for 95.40 percent of its listing price. In March 2010 those numbers were 91 days and 94.59 percent, respectively.

The area's average interest rate increased in March 2011 to 4.91 percent, from the 4.88 percent posted in February 2011.


There are 12,533 homes currently available for purchase through the MLS, which is 3,690 homes (22.75 percent) less than were available in March 2010. The current pace of sales translates into 5.04 months of supply, the lowest since December 2005.

There are 10,115 single-family homes currently listed in the MLS, a number that is 16.25 percent less than the 12,077 single-family homes listed in March of last year. Condos make up 1,506 offerings in the MLS, while duplexes/town homes/villas make up the remaining 912. Orlando's condo inventory is 45.81 percent lower than it was in March 2010.

Condos and Town Homes/Duplexes/Villas

The sales of condos in the Orlando area (473) decreased by 22.71 percent in March when compared to March of 2010 (612).

The most (234) condos in a single price category that changed hands in March were yet again in the $1 - $50,000 price range and accounts for 49.47 percent of all condo sales. Low-priced units have overwhelming dominated condo sales since March of 2009.

Orlando homebuyers purchased 230 duplexes, town homes, and villas in March 2011, which is a 0.44 percent increase from March 2010, when 229 of these alternative housing types were purchased.

MSA Numbers

Sales of existing homes within the entire Orlando MSA (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties) in March were down by 2.97 percent when compared to March of 2010. Throughout the MSA, 3,172 homes were sold in March 2011 compared with 3,269 in March 2010. To date, sales in the MSA are up 8.55 percent.

Each individual county's monthly sales comparisons are as follows:

  • Lake: 9.98 percent below March 2010 (397 homes sold in March 2011 compared to 441 in March 2010);
  • Orange: 8.62 percent below March 2010 (1,633 homes sold in March 2011 compared to 1,787 in March 2010);
  • Osceola: 16.55 percent above March 2010 (641 homes sold in March 2011 compared to 550 in March 2010); and
  • Seminole: 2.04 percent above March 2010 (501 sold in March 2011 compared to 491 in March 2010).


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