Orlando Condo Market Analysis: Feb 2009

Orlando real estate market on the rebound?

Orlando area home sales have continued to experience an increase in activity, with 47.59% more homes sold in March 2009 than March of last year.

In addition, 76.06% more contracts were filed in the month of March 2009 than in March 2008. Overall, pending sales – considered by housing economists to be a reliable indicator of future sales – continued its upward trend in March to 4,906 – more than twice as many compared to March 2009.

“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 2009 ($137,000) decreased by 37.73% compared to March 2008 – while the area’s average interest rate dropped yet again to 4.67%, its lowest point on record.

The message is clear. Values are down and sales are up. Makes perfect sense. Let’s hope it keeps up. Of the 1,653 homes sales in March, 49.06% of the homes were either bank-owned or “distressed” in some way.

The decrease in median price drove the area’s “affordability index” to yet another record high of 192.17%, which along with the tax break for first time buyers ($8K for free) means that the first-time homebuyer affordability has increased to 136.65%. First-time buyers who earn the reported median income of $26,000 can qualify to purchase one of 7,366 homes listed in the Orlando 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.

There are currently 21,448 homes available for purchase through the MLS. Compared to last year, the March 2009 inventory level is 15.80% lower than it was in March 2008.

The inventory level reflects a 12.98-month supply at the current pace of sales, down from the nearly 17 month-supply recorded in February 2009. Altogether, inventory months-of-supply has declined 39.74 percent since January 2009.

Folks, taken altogether, these numbers are very telling. It doesn’t take an economist to see the green shoots here.

The sales of condos in the Orlando area have increased by 227%. 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), hence this category now being a firm seller’s market.

(See the February 2009 analysis here.)

For more commentary on the bottoming out of the Orlando market, see the Orlando Real Estate Pros Blog.

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