Orlando's Housing Market Jumps 41% in March, Fueled by Distressed Sales

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | April 9, 2010 9:40 AM ET

(ORLANDO, FL) -- According to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, over 4,662 new sales contracts were signed in March, bringing the area's pending sales statistic to a whopping 10,179.  In addition, Orlando Realtors recorded 2,473 closings in March, 40.99 percent more than in March 2009.

"The record number of pending sales confirms the strong increase in demand as buyers try to take advantage of the tax credit before the April 30 deadline," explains ORRA Chairman of the Board Kathleen Gallagher McIver, RE/MAX Town & Country Realty.  "If homebuyers want this tax credit, they must act now."

To help buyers in their search for a home, Gallagher McIver said that members of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association will be participating in this weekend's first-ever Florida Open House Weekend, held April 10-11. "For the serious buyer, the opportunity to tour dozens of homes in one weekend is a real time saver. Others who didn't think they could afford a home may be drawn into the market by affordable prices and low interest rates."

For March 2010, the number of new contracts represents a jump of 57.71 percent more new contracts filed than in March 2009 (2,956). The area's pending sales statistic -- also an indicator of future sales activity - is likewise at record high with 107.48 percent more homes (10,179) under contract and awaiting closing in March of this year than in March of last year (4,906).

The median price of all existing homes combined sold in March 2010 increased 4.76 percent to $110,000 from the $105,000 recorded in February 2010. March 2010's median price is a decrease of 18.52 percent compared to March 2009's median of $135,000.

March's $110,000 median price encompasses all types of sales situations and home types. The median price for "normal" sales is $115,000 (a decrease from last month's $163,000). The median price for bank-owned sales is $74,000 (up 5.79 percent from last month's $69,950), and the median price for short sales is $166,500 (up 58.57 percent from last month's $105,000).

Of the 2,273 sales in March, 812 "normal" sales accounted for 32.83 percent of all sales, while 1,105 bank-owned and 556 short sales made up 67.17 percent.

The Orlando affordability index decreased to 233.74 percent in March from 234.26 percent in February 2010. (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 $52,934 can qualify to purchase one of 9,074 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service for $238,383 or less.

First-time homebuyer affordability in March decreased slightly to 166.19 percent. First-time buyers who earn the reported median income of $35,995 can qualify to purchase one of 5,614 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service for $144,089 or less.

Homes of all types spent an average of 92 days on the market before coming under contract in March 2010, and the average home sold for 94.36 percent of its listing price. In March 2009 those numbers were 103 and 92.74 percent, respectively. The area's average interest rate increased in March to 4.99 percent.


There are currently 16,223 homes available for purchase through the MLS. Inventory increased by 172 homes from February 2010, which means that 172 more homes entered the market than left the market. The March 2010 inventory level is 24.36 percent lower than it was in March 2009 (21,448). The current pace of sales translates into 6.56 months of supply; March 2009 recorded 12.23 months of supply.

There are 12,077 single-family homes currently listed in the MLS, a number that is 3,330 (21.61 percent) less than in March of last year. Condos currently make up 2,779 offerings in the MLS, while duplexes/town homes/villas make up the remaining 1,367.

Condos and Town Homes/Duplexes/Villas

The sales of condos in the Orlando area increased by 74.76 percent in March when compared to March of last year, and increased by 18.63 percent when compared to February 2010. A total of 554 condos changed hands in March of this year compared to 317 in March 2009 and 467 in February 2010. To date, condo sales are up 112.24 percent (1,422 condos sold to date in 2010, compared to 670 by this time in 2009).

The most (302) condos in a single price category that changed hands in March were yet again in the $1 - $50,000 price range, which accounted for 54.51 percent of all condo sales.

Orlando homebuyers purchased 211 duplexes, town homes, and villas in March 2010, which is a 64.84 percent increase from March 2009 when 128 of these alternative housing types were purchased. The majority (39) of duplexes, town homes, and villas sold in March 2010 fell into the $100,000 - $120,000 price category. Twenty eight duplexes, town homes, and villas sold for less than $50,000 in February, twice the number sold in February (14).

MSA Numbers

Sales of existing homes within the entire Orlando MSA (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties) in March were up by 31.37 percent when compared to March of 2009. Throughout the MSA, 3,044 homes were sold in March 2010 compared with 2,251 in March 2009.

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

Lake: 31.37 percent above 2009 (1,072 homes sold to date in 2010 compared to 816 in 2009);

Orange: 50.42 percent above 2009 (4,129 homes sold to date in 2010 compared to 2,745 in 2009);

Osceola: 29.13 percent above 2009 (1,299 homes sold to date in 2010 compared to 1,006 in 2009); and

Seminole: 59.06 percent above 2009 (1,133 sold to date in 2010 compared to 726 in 2009).

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