Metro Orlando housing starts up 57% in a year


Housing starts in Metro Orlando shot up a staggering 58 percent during the third quarter compared with a year earlier.

With construction of 1,800 homes begun in the four-county metro area during the July-through-September period, the pace of home building remains far below the peak-market levels of six years ago — but is much-improved from the 1,140 housing starts in the third quarter of 2011.

“Until the spike in employment this quarter (which is a bit perplexing), the Orlando MSA’s job market had been showing anemic growth for the past two years,” said Anthony Crocco, director of Metrostudy’s Central Florida division. “But even without job growth, the area’s new-housing market continues to grow. The overall housing market remains driven by resales. …”

The number of new homes closings during the quarter was up 42 percent from the third quarter of last year, to 1,475 units. The pace of closings has been increasing in recent quarters; for the four most-recent quarters, closing are up 29 percent compared with the previous four quarters.

“Quarterly starts have been above closings for five quarters in a row, and signals that builders are having a hard time keeping up with sales and closings,” Crocco said.

During the past four quarters, the most active base-price range in new-home subdivisions has been $150,000 to $199,999; builders in that range had 2,053 starts and 1,645 closings for the 12 months that ended in October.

Charles Wayne Consulting also released its third-quarter report Wednesday, and it found a 73 percent increase in housing starts compared with the third quarter of 2011 over a region that includes the four metro-area counties — Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake — as well as northeast Polk and southwest Volusia.

The Maitland-basedreal estate consulting group reported a median price of $245,000, up 2 percent from a year earlier.

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