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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Apr. 14, 2017 1 year ago

Spring and summer forecast 2017

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As the market heads into the busy spring and summer selling seasons, here’s what you can expect in Central Florida.
by: Christina Rordam Columnist

Living in Central Florida, we’re blessed to enjoy a year-round housing market. It’s always sunny and nice outside, so sellers and buyers can go about their real-estate business without concern for snow, ice and freezing temperatures — problems that can slow the pace of sales up north. 

In fact, the only thing slowing in Orlando and the surrounding areas is the amount of available homes for sale. As we head into the even warmer months of spring and summer, you can expect home sales to heat up right alongside the weather. Here’s a closer look at what to expect in the hottest selling season of the year here in Greater Orlando.

A competitive sellers’ market persists
Available inventory dropped below year-to-date numbers for 2016. The Orlando Regional Realtor Association released its sales data for February 2017, and the median sales price for Orlando and total sales are up 11% and .3%, respectively, from February 2016. Inventory, however, is down 21%, with only 8,457 homes available for purchase. Sales were up over last year but just less than .5%, with 2,423 homes closing in the month of February. 

Expect sellers to continue to hold strong in their efforts for obtaining top market value if you are buying. It will still be worth it to buy in most cases if you are able. If you’re looking to sell, the outlook is bright.

Rental rates continue to rise
The trend of escalating rents marches on. As reported by ABODO.com in January, renters paid $1,001 per month on average for their apartments with average monthly apartment rents up $85 per month from January to December 2016. Similarly, RealtyTrac deemed Orange and Seminole counties more affordable for homeowners than renters based on the percentage of monthly income spent on rents versus mortgages. 

At some point, rents are expected to stabilize as housing starts increase, but in the meantime, Orlando can expect higher than average rental rates and more affordability in the ownership sector.

Growth but not a bubble
I know there may be some that fear a housing bubble reminiscent of 10 years ago as we see home values increasing. I am watching closely with an open mind for signs of a bubble but don’t believe we are currently headed there. 

Someone who agrees is Spencer Rascoff of Zillow Group. Last April, he appeared on CNBC and said the last housing bubble wasn’t so much a housing bubble but a credit bubble — that many who weren’t qualified for mortgages got them, resulting in inflation. Rascoff went on to say that the growth we’ve seen as of late is regular housing appreciation and that a larger affordability issue exists with rental rates. 

In early February, Rascoff echoed his thoughts from that interview on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street stating Zillow isn’t forecasting any type of housing recession at this time and predicting appreciation but at slower rates than 2016.

So get out there and check out the homes for sale in your neighborhood or place yours on the market for would-be buyers. Whatever you do, you don’t have to worry about getting burned — at least not when it comes to real estate in 2017.

Realtor Christina Rordam is a Florida native. She was named one of the top 20 Realtors under age 40 in Orlando in 2016 by the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. For more information, visit christinasellsorlando.com.

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