DOWNTOWN ORLANDO CONDOMINIUM and townhome sales prices rebounded more in Metro Orlando during the last year than in almost any other metro area in the state, a new report shows.
The median price of a condo or townhouse in the four-county area in February was $104,000, up by 26 percent from a year earlier, according to a report released Thursday by Florida Realtors.
Only one other Florida market, the metro Fort Walton Beach area, experienced stronger price growth in condo sales, with an increase of 37 percent to reach a median price of $210,000. Statewide, condo prices reached a midpoint of $132,500 in February, up 15 percent from February 2013.
James Donovan, a Polk County broker who specializes in multi- and single-family international sales, said the fast growth in condo prices for the Orlando market reflects that values had been depressed as investors walked away from properties that fell into foreclosure.
“There was a huge amount of investors who came into Orlando and South Florida saying: ‘We want three units and we’ll rent two out to pay for the third,’ ” Donovan said. “Then they all walked away from their deposits.”
Prices for the multifamily housing units in Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties remain far from their peak of $166,100 in 2006, but prices have more than doubled since hitting a low of $49,300 in August 2010.
The sharp price growth has contributed to a slowdown in sales of the units, however. In February, 543 condos and townhomes sold in the metropolitan area, down 12 percent from a year earlier. Statewide, condo sales slid by about 7 percent during that time.
Condo sales have softened for other reasons, too, Donovan said. As of this year, owners can no longer get a tax break on losses they incur selling the properties, and that has kept some of them off the market. In addition, increases in interest rates have deterred some buyers, he added.
In addition to condo price increases, single-family home prices rose more in the Orlando area than elsewhere in the state, the report shows. The midpoint home price in Metro Orlando during February was $175,000, an increase of about 18 percent from a year earlier. Statewide, the median home price was $165,000, an increase of 10 percent.
“The majority of results for the residential market paint a picture of a normal growing market,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist John Tuccillo. “The weaker results in sales for both single-family homes and townhouses and condos are solely the result of plummeting short sales.”
Those signs point to further recovery because short sales are declining as the market improves, he added.