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Regional Spotlight: Drop-in Median Values Jumpstarts the Spring Orlando Selling Season

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RISMEDIA, April 11, 2007-The housing market's traditional spring selling season – which commonly takes place between March and June-has officially started. Buyers should make their move now because the median price of homes in Orlando has dropped back to its 2006 level ($240,000), reports the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association. In addition, interest rates have slipped to 5.83%.

An increase in the number of sales that took place in March (1,665) when compared to February (1,541) is another spring-selling indicator; however, sales are down 42.1% when compared to March of 2006, when 2,878 home changed hands through the Mid-Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.

These factors have worked together to improve Orlando's affordability index to 93.6% in March, from 87.1% in February. The housing affordability index, distributed by ORRA, is a number used to identify the discrepancy between an area's median income and its median home price. In Orlando's case, an affordability index of 93.6% means that buyers earning the state-reported median income ($50,762) are only 6.4% short of the income necessary to purchase a median-priced home.

"Orlando's index has historically been in the black, even peaking at 152% back in January of 2004," explains ORRA President Randy Martin, GRI, RE/MAX 200 Realty. "However, the red-hot housing market of 2005 started a downward trend that persists nearly two years later. It is having a direct effect on the professionals who are thought of as the foundation of a community: police officers, firefighter, teachers. ORRA members are responding by lobbying on behalf of property tax reform and directing those clients who are struggling to get into a home toward the many assistance programs offered by governmental and nonprofit organizations at the local, state, and national levels."

The inventory of homes available for purchase through the MLS increased by 1,492 homes in March to a total of 23,547. The total inventory for March is 61.7% above that of March 2006 and reflects a 14.1-month supply at the current pace of sales.

There were 4,072 condos for sale through the local multiple listing service in March. Duplexes, townhomes, and villas accounted for 2,118 of the listings in Orlando's inventory, while single-family homes took up the remaining 17,357. The greatest percentage (19.6) of single-family homes currently for sale are priced in the $250,000 – $300,000 range.

The existing condo market continued to decline: sales in March weakened by 63% (from 612 in March 2006 to 224 in March 2007). The largest percentage of those condos sold last month (15.7%) fell within the $140,000 – $160,000 range, and another 15.6% fell within the $160,000 – $180,000 range. Condos in the upper price ranges of $400,000 to $1 million combined accounted for only 4.70% of all sales.

The sales of duplexes, townhomes, and villas dropped 48% in March, from 258 in March 2006 to 134. Most homes of these types (31.5%) were sold for between $200,000 and $250,000.

MSA Numbers

Sales of existing homes within the Orlando MSA (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties) in March are down by 42.0% when compared to March of last year. Throughout the entire MSA, 2,025 homes were sold in March 2007 compared with 3,489 in 2006. To date, 5,678 homes have been sold this year while 8,656 homes had been sold as of this time last year (a 34.4% decline).

Seminole County's March 2007 sales dropped 43.0% below that of March 2006 (406 to 712), while Orange County fell 43.7% (1,031 to 1,830). Lake County saw a 31.2% decline in the number of sales in March 2007 compared to March 2006 (455 to 313), and Osceola County experienced a 44.1% drop (275 to 492).

For more information, visit www.orlrealtor.com.

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