WINTER GARDEN — As one of the fastest-growing areas in the state — maybe the nation — West Orange County has a lot of questions facing its future and present development.
Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh aims to answer some of those questions in his State of West Orange County Real Estate presentation Sept. 17 at the West Orange High School Performing Arts Center.
“We will look at the entire area,” Singh said. “We will define that area from a geographic standpoint, look at the market evaluations, the tax evaluations. We will look at what’s creating that growth, how fast it’s growing, the volume of growth … average sale price of properties. We’ll basically tell the whole real estate story from start to finish for West Orange County.”
He hopes the public will make every effort to attend for education about the area and to get answers to their questions, with more than 600 registered, he said.
Helping to answer those questions will be a panel of seasoned area experts in various subjects, Singh said. The panel includes Boyd Development Corp. President Scott T. Boyd, Tavistock Group President Mark Hayes, Orange County Public Schools District Demographer Tom Moore, FBC Mortgage Co-CEO Joe Nunziata and Windermere Medical Center founder Dr. Niral Patel.
MANAGING THE BOOM
Singh said 25% of all homes and market value in the county are in West Orange, although it represents 16% of the total properties.
“It’s a great area from an investment standpoint, and that’s why it’s so important,” Singh said. “One of the things that is contributing to the boom of West Orange County is the availability of developable land. That’s not similar in Winter Park. That’s not similar in College Park. … Progressive growth management policies (in municipalities) such as Winter Garden, Ocoee, Oakland — those all are appealing.”
Low interest rates, population growth, foreign investment, strong economic recovery and local climate are other major factors in this boom, Singh said. A record $3 billion in new construction occurred in 2014 — $8.8 million per day — with 2015 on track to exceed that, he said.
“Growth is fostered when you’ve got entrepreneurs willing to take the risk, good public policy and consumers who are essentially going to aid sustainability,” Singh said.
The potential in West Orange is larger than other booming areas such as Lake Nona, he said. Because West Orange is less limited by geographic area, it still holds significant development potential, he said.
Singh said recent the national epidemic of poor lending practices created a bubble sparking a downfall in the economy, but he does not see it happening in West Orange because of more stringent lending policies.
“But above and beyond that, you have a better quality buyer,” he said. “You don’t have the mom and pop that are venturing into the flipping of homes and hoping to make a quick $20,000 or $30,000 and basically willing to buy anything to make it work. You have prudent investors … that are more sophisticated in their investment practices. Those … will help sustainability in this particular area.”
Monitoring transportation, schools and similar infrastructure issues is important to sustain growth, as well, and Orange County has handled those properly, Singh said.
Along the lines of environmental sustainability, Singh said that would be more of an economic development question while land is still available.
“It’s becoming scarcer as it comes, but there is land still available, and whenever that opportunity presents itself, you’re always going to have growth, especially in a robust market like we have,” he said. “Responsible development — X amount of property for people living needs X amount of property for where they play — parks, recreation area, green area — that’s just good future planning. I think there’s a good mix of that in the West Orange County area.”
IF YOU GO
STATE OF WEST ORANGE COUNTY REAL ESTATE
WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17
WHERE: West Orange High School Performing Arts Center, 1625 Beulah Road, Winter Garden
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].