Realtor An Flamand says now is a terrific time to buy a home in the Orlando area.
Realtor An Flamand says now is a terrific time to buy a home in the Orlando area.

DAVENPORT — There are a lot of great Christmas gifts available — electronics, the latest clothing, maybe something hand made that’s personalized and unique.
As An Flamand noted, there’s another great option for a terrific buy this holiday season: how about getting your family into a new home?
Flamand, the president of Orlando Vacation Realty in Davenport, said the holidays can be a great time to be exploring what’s available in the Orlando area real estate market, whether you’re a first time buyer, a snowbird looking for a home for the winter months in the region’s tropical splendor, or an investor who wants to own a share of Orlando — an area that Forbes magazine called the top city in the nation for job growth.
It’s also worth noting, Flamand added, that a lot of prospective buyers tend to drop out of the real estate market in November and December — it seems things like vacations, holiday shopping, Christmas parties and family gatherings tend to keep us busy right about now.
“The holidays do distract us,” she said. “It may slow down people who are looking for a home. They may postpone it during the holidays.”
On the other hand, don’t count on being the only person to show up at those open houses, she added. After all, the Orlando economy is bouncing back, and as Forbes noted, the city’s job-growth machine is getting stronger. So is the region’s tourism, hospitality and health care sectors. That means a lot of people are moving to this city from other states, in search of economic opportunity.
They all need homes, Flamand added.
“Orlando is a totally different market than most other markets,” she said. “Orlando has a huge market where people are relocating here. That always brings growth and people moving into the area.”
Orlando’s home buying market is also unique, she said, because it has a crucial sub-market that many American cities do not have. It’s a market geared toward second home buyers and investors — many of them international buyers — who buy vacation homes in a city that has become one of the top tourist destinations worldwide.
“The other big market is the vacation home market, where people are investing in the market,” she said. “In that aspect, it’s a little bit different than the residential market.”
So, with plenty of new residents relocating to the Orlando area, and with investors looking to buy those luxury homes located close to the region’s major theme parks and other tourist attractions, does it make sense to go house hunting during the holidays?
Absolutely, Flamand said.
“Right now is a good time for people to buy,” she said. “The interest rates are still very low. We’re still looking at 4 percent, which is a good interest rate. They think the interest rate will go up next year to 5 percent, so it does make a difference. If you’re looking at 5 percent, that will increase your monthly mortgage payment by $80 or so a month.”
There are also some great homes on the market now, she added.
“There is still a lot of inventory,” Flamand said. “As more houses come onto the sales market, the prices stabilize. The inventory is at the highest level now, so the prices start to stabilize, and home prices are still very good — although they are going up. We know the prices are going up now — we see that very clearly.”
That means anyone who buys now is likely to see their home value increase.
“Nobody has a crystal ball, but right now the value of your home is very good,” she said. “Right now rents are still very high. If you can purpose a home, you’re much better off in buying.”
While some buyers want a home to live in, others want a home they can use when they stay here in the winter months or during vacations — or they want to make it available for short-term rentals as a vacation home property, Flamand said. This market is also quite healthy these days.
“I think Orlando is the vacation home capital of the world,” she said. “That is definitely very unique.”
Of those looking for investment properties, “The majority is international,” Flamand said, particularly Canadians, Europeans and Brazilians.
“Most Americans don’t even realize what investment opportunities there are in Orlando — or in their own country,” she said. “Right now there is a big influence in the market from Brazil. We’re also looking at a bigger Asian market that is interested in Orlando. As far as the vacation home market goes, the majority is very interested because of the currency exchange as well.”
To learn more, call 863-424-3835 or email Orlando Vacation Realty is at 115 Lake Davenport Boulevard in Davenport.

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