As the association noted in its report on the housing market for the month of February, “buyer demand for homes outstrips inventory in February.”
In fact, the inventory of homes available in the region took “a tumble” last month, the association noted, leading in some areas to a double digit increase in the median price, which last month was $185,000. That’s a 12 percent rise compared to February 2015, when the median price was $164,900.
Last month’s median price is also up 2.78 percent compared to January 2016, when it was $180,000.
“The Orlando median home price has now experienced year-over-year increases for the past 55 consecutive months,” the association noted in the report, while adding that in February, the median price was 60.17 percent higher than it was seven months ago, in July 2015.
February’s median price was also the highest since August 2008, when the price was $200,000.
The rise in home prices reflects an increase in sales as well. ORRA members participated in the sale of 2,334 homes that closed in February. That was actually a decrease of 5 percent compared to February 2015, although it also marked an 8.76 percent increase from January 2016.
ORRA said the slower pace of sales last month compared to a year ago reflects fewer homes on the market – a shift that the association said has made this more of a seller’s market than a buyer’s market,
John Lazenby, the president of ORRA, said he’s hopeful that the increase in prices will encourage more area homeowners to put their house on the market.
“Our hope for easing the inventory shortage is that more sellers will evaluate the favorable conditions and decide to place their homes on the market before the traditional spring/summer home buying season starts in earnest,” Lazenby noted in the report.
Another aspect of the housing market in February was the strength of townhomes, which sold at a much faster pace than single-family houses, ORRA noted.
The sales of duplexes, townhomes, and villas shot up by 9.91 percent last month compared to February 2015, even as single family home sales fell by 4.7 percent.
ORRA noted that townhouses have become an appealing – and affordable – option for many home buyers in this market. Orlando homebuyers purchased 244 duplexes, town homes, and villas last month.
An Flamand Orlando Real Estate Broker, with Orlando Vacation Realty agrees that the town homes have definitely been the preferred choice for many real estate buyers & investors.
Buyers may also have been drawn into the market by low interest rates. ORRA noted that the average interest rate paid by Orlando homebuyers in February was 3.75 percent, down from 3.93 in January.
Not surprisingly in this environment, homes for sale spent an average of 82 days on the market before coming under contract in February – less than three months’ wait.
There are currently 5,424 pending sales in the Orlando area, 10 percent higher than in January.
But as prices and sales go up, inventory has gotten lower in the region. The number of existing homes available to buy in February was 10,696 — 6.55 percent lower than in February 2015.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..