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    Distressed Orlando Housing Markets Make Big Comeback in 2013

Levinrad's Golden Rules for Flipping Homes in FL

2013 has been a record setting year for Orlando home prices, but you’d still be quite surprised by the Orlando-area neighborhoods that saw the biggest gains:

  • Pine Hills
  • Maitland
  • Oviedo
  • Bithlo

All of these communities had been wracked with short sales and foreclosures that hurt nearby property values. With the distressed properties being sold off– home prices are recovering.

As Orlando real-estate agent Barbara Hampden remarked, “The ones that did the best were the ones that had been hurt the most.”

Big Price Jumps for these Orlando-Area Housing Markets

Orlando Regional Realtor Association reports show a 22 percent increase in average sales prices over the last year for the main Orlando housing market– primarily Seminole and Orange County. The prices in a few outlier communities jumped up by as much as 70 percent.

Reports detailed the recovery in these four areas:

  • Pine Hills – 73 percent of the total homes sold in January of this year were distressed properties. By October, only 41 percent of recorded sales in Pine Hills were foreclosures or short sales. Average sales price for this area was boosted 32 percent to $69,566.
  • Maitland – The average sales price here has increased from $170,174 to $288,927 (70 percent!!) this year. Prices were depressed in January due to the distress sales of recently converted condos in the area. October housing market stats show that most sales were single-family homes. This significant shift drastically drove hope average sales prices.
  • Oviedo – Many investment-group buyers were drawn to the foreclosure situation in this area. They were competing for discount homes that they could rent out without needing too much maintenance. The average sales price has risen by 58 percent over 2013 to $269,157.

It was not all surprising gains during this last year. Despite the sales price growth in these areas, some zones went stagnant and a few even dropped in average price. These included:

  • Lockhart
  • Azalea Park
  • Chuluota
  • Areas in South Seminole County

Finding the Right Home in Orlando

Guidelines for Flipping Homes in OrlandoWill Holderness is a new homeowner who spent most of the last year combing the Orlando area for a good home. This software engineer saw that the places with increasing average prices also were the most desirable locations in the area.

His search concentrated on a large section of Orlando where he was able to locate a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Winter Park for $230,000 two months ago. He had judged this to be the right home based on a set list of criteria:

  • Commute time
  • Quality of shopping
  • Nearby schools
  • Community walkability

“I think it really comes down to the area itself being more desirable and people wanting to be in that area,” said Holderness. “Winter Park had the shopping, the golf course, the trees. It feels like a nice place where you would want to raise your family.”

Real estate agents like David Welch know that there are some up and coming parts of Pine Hills that are improving every year. Given their proximity to good employment centers, this would be a viable area for homebuyers with limited budgets.

Looking at the Whole Picture

The Orlando Realtor reports also showed average sales prices for the surrounding counties:

  • Seminole County – increased 28 percent to $167,000 (Largest gain by county for 2013)
  • Orange County – increased 22 percent to $165,000
  • Osceola County – increased 18 percent to $144,500
  • Lake County – increased 17 percent to $140,500

University of Central Florida’s Stan Smith explained how these price hikes have freed many “underwater” homeowners who owed more on their mortgage than the property was worth. The climbing home values have encouraged more to put their homes up for sale (even during the holiday season).

As Smith explains, the biggest gains in sales prices were seen in areas that had started on a significantly low base for 2013. The report’s price comparison does not reflect funds that buyers may have sunk into these distressed properties. High asking prices often reflect the cost of expensive home renovations.