Downtown Orlando condo prices double in 3 years

Downtown Orlando condo prices have more than doubled in less than three years, a new report shows.

The median price for a condominium or townhouse in the four-county area during July was $104,000, according to a report released by Florida Realtors Wednesday. During 2010, the units traded for a median price of $50,400 — making Orlando one of the cheapest condo markets in the state at the time.

“When the market went down so low, all of Florida was for sale,” “The lenders have not been lending on units and the values dropped tremendously.”

Real estate companies advertised cheap Florida condominiums to buyers in the Midwest and the Northeast, spurring a frenzy of cash buyers that quickly drove up prices from the market bottom, she added. By leasing out the units, many of the cash buyers were able to quickly get a 10 percent return. Historically, landlords have had to wait three years after purchasing a rental property before they might get a profit.

The Orlando-area condominium projects that have performed the best are established properties built before the real estate boom and bust, Baer added. Another issue has been that very few local condominium and townhouse developments have landed on the approval list for federal-backed mortgages — killing buyers’ chances of getting a loan. In many cases, she said, condominium associations have not filled out the paperwork required for the federal backing.

One area where condos seem to have struggled the most is the west Orlando community of MetroWest, which has had some crime issues.

Of all parts of the state, Orlando in particular experienced one of the most dramatic condo turnarounds. During just the last year, Metropolitan Orlando condo prices increased 29.5 percent during the last year while prices for Florida’s 20 largest metro areas increased 22.9 percent. Statewide numbers do not reflect the most current Brevard County sales.

Consider that three years ago – during a time when darkened windows defined condo projects throughout the state – Orlando and Ocala had the lowest condo prices in the state. By July of this year, Orlando’s condo prices had surpassed those of not only Ocala but also Gainesville, Tallahassee, Indian River County, Charlotte County, Polk County.

Boosted largely by relatively high-ticket condo prices in coastal counties, the median price statewide for the properties was $129,000 in July. The panhandle area of Okaloosa County, which includes Destin and Fort Walton Beach, had a median condo sales price of $202,000 during July – the priciest condo deals in the state.

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