Pockets of Orlando see home prices return to peak

Pockets of Orlando see home prices return to peak

Home prices in some areas of Central Florida have returned to pre-crash levels.

Economists projected during the housing bust that Metro Orlando home prices would take three decades to recover to peak levels. A few pockets of the region, though, have already shown signs of full recovery.

Median home sales prices in parts of downtown Orlando, Maitland, Windermere, Longwood, Dr. Phillips and Lady Lake have returned to pre-crash levels of mid-2007, according to an Orlando Sentinel analysis of public-record sales data provided by Zillow. In addition, data from Orlando Regional Realtors and other reports reflect full recovery for several of those areas.

Map: Orlando-area home price changes

The top recovery market within all of Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties is the downtown Orlando ZIP code of 32801, which includes parts of Thornton and Delaney parks.

“Millennials are flooding into the market. They know the market is going up,” said Orlando real estate broker Dusty Sutton. “All the Millennials want to be downtown, as well as business professionals who get tired of driving and empty nesters who like the vibrancy of downtown and don’t want the big house and the big yard.”

Popular opinion seems to be that Millennials prefer renting to owning, but Sutton said she found buyers in their 20s and early 30s have been the main shoppers at downtown-area open houses.


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Overall, the comeback stories for Orlando neighborhoods have been based on supply and demand. Few houses, for instance, are available in core downtown neighborhoods with walkability and entertainment for Millennials. And demand for renovated houses in areas known for good schools has boosted prices in Maitland. Meanwhile, large supplies of condominiums in parts of southwest Orlando have slowed price recovery there, real estate agents say.

CAPTION11301 Bridge House Road, Windermere


On the Butler chain of lakes and nicknamed “Overjoy” this scenic waterfront property has five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and 10,155-square-feet of living space. The estate is listed for $7.9 million.

CAPTION11301 Bridge House Road, Windermere


On the Butler chain of lakes and nicknamed “Overjoy” this scenic waterfront property has five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and 10,155-square-feet of living space. The estate is listed for $7.9 million.

In downtown, single-family-home shoppers now face a midpoint sales price of $307,500 — about $6,000 higher than the peak. Prices for the limited supply of properties had dropped only 27 percent from a peak of $301,700 in 2007, bottoming out at $220,800 in January 2012. In comparison, houses throughout Central Florida lost more than half their value during that time.

As for the condominiums of downtown Orlando, they have not reached peak-market prices but have gained value as downtown landlords continue to hike rental rates. One-bedroom apartments in the area commonly lease for $1,500 a month. Condo prices have sprung back to a midpoint of $198,100 after dropping to $124,500 over a four-year period, according to public sales data from Zillow, but remain short of the peak price of $258,800.

Other areas returning to peak-market residential prices, with percentage gains since their low points:

  • Maitland/Eatonville (32751), up 44 percent to $287,450.
  • Windermere (34786), up 21 percent to $386,750.
  • Longwood/Lake Mary (32779), up 9 percent to $276,910.

Stories of full recovery aren’t the norm for Central Florida. Zillow’s sales records show that only six of Metro Orlando’s 64 ZIP codes have bounced back. And the Orlando Regional Realtor Association has reported that median prices in the core Orlando market last month were $182,000 — about $76,000 below the heady days of 2007. But median prices have doubled from the depths of 2011.

During the summer, Winter Park real estate agent Maria Van Warner sold a Maitland house for several hundred thousand dollars more than it sold for a decade ago when prices neared their 2007 bursting point. Demand for the neighborhood was so high Van Warner had to find, for her buyer, a house that wasn’t even listed for sale. Even though it had been renovated, the sale still indicated that particular market has bounced back, she said.

“It’s because of supply and demand,” Van Warner said. “There’s not a lot available. That neighborhood holds its value more than other areas because of the schools, the sense of community and kind of the safety. It’s kind of old-school USA.”

The slowest areas to recover have been areas southwest of downtown Orlando, Pine Hills and Oak Ridge, according to data from Zillow and the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

Southwest of downtown Orlando, prices in the ZIP code 32811 have suffered because of a glut of condos on the market nearby in the MetroWest development, said Marcelo Saucedo, a broker with listings in the area.

With so much competition, he said, buyers are able to shop for the most affordable prices. Median prices in that area are $75,400, far less than half of their $208,000 peak eight years ago.

“The majority of people in the MetroWest area don’t care if they’re in an condo, apartment or townhouse,” Saucedo said. “They just want access to jobs but they can’t afford places like downtown and Lake Mary.”