With the devastating effects of COVID-19, many Americans expected real estate prices to soar in 2020. However, the pandemic had the opposite effect on many housing markets — at least, in the beginning.
Central Florida has now started to see a sudden spike in housing prices. This could be attributed in part to an increase in housing demand from an influx of out-of-state arrivals in 2021. Formerly “snowbirds,” now aptly nicknamed “sunbirds,” many of these new residents are visitors from the north who decided to make their vacation more permanent.
So what does the Central Florida housing market look like this year, compared to 2020? We’ll take a look at four neighborhoods to help you get a better idea of how the cost of living has changed over the course of a year.
The Big Picture
Florida’s housing market saw a downward trend in housing prices nearing the end of 2019, but the line again spiked upward in January 2020 and continued its skyward trajectory for the remainder of the year.
At the beginning of 2020, in January, the median listing price for a home in Orange County, Florida, was $305K, and the median selling price was $280K. By December 2020, the median listing price for the same area was $315K and the selling price was $305K. Orange County was quickly closing the gap between what sellers were asking for and what buyers were willing to pay.
By May 2021, the median listing price for a home in Orange County was $340K, and the median selling price was $320K. This trend is also measured by “year-over-year growth”, which is the comparison of one period of time from one year with the same period of time from the previous year. The year-over-year growth in May 2021 was 10 per cent, meaning houses were being listed for 10 per cent more in May 2021 than in May 2020.
Windermere has seen steady — if steep — housing prices in its day, only recently experiencing an upward trend in median listing prices.
With a year-over-year growth of 20.9 per cent, the median listing price of a home in Windermere has risen from just over $589K in May 2020 to an astounding $699K in May 2021. With this and a median selling price of $645K, May 2021 saw the highest average numbers in recent memory for Windermere’s housing market.
Although houses in Windermere were already priced well above the national average in 2020, a $100K upward trend in listing prices within a year is bound to make some homebuyers panic.
But fear not — just as quickly as trends can spike upwards, they can dive back downwards.
Over the past few years, homes in Clermont have seen gradually rising listing prices. That’s typical of any market affected by inflation, government policies, interest rates, and other economic factors reflected in our everyday costs. In May 2021, however, the year-over-year growth of Clermont’s housing market was measured at 13.2 per cent.
The median listing price in Clermont is closer to the national average — around $287K — than neighboring Windermere, with a median listing price of $340K, compared to around $300K in May 2020.
The homes in this area can range in price anywhere from $10K to $7M. Homes are usually sold for around $318.5K, compared to $296.5K in May 2020.
Winter Garden is a small town with above-average housing prices. The median listing price in Winter Garden was $450K in May 2021, compared to around $419K in May 2020. There was a 9.5 per cent upward trend in year-to-year growth.
Winter Garden’s small community saw a median home sale price of $453.5K in May 2021, compared to just over $381K in May 2020.
Winter Garden is currently a seller’s market, with more buyers looking for homes than there are homes available for sale. The asking price is being met or exceeded in virtually all home sales in the city.
Homes also remain on the market for a shorter amount of time than in other regions due to the high demand for housing.
Orlando is a huge city, with a wide variety of dwellings to fit every price range. Its median listing price on a home in May 2021 was $305K, compared to nearly $280K in May 2020. Its upward trend in May was 9.6 per cent year-over-year.
On average, a listing in Orlando sold for $300K in May 2021, just below asking price. Compared to May 2020, when the median selling price was around $267K, buyers are now paying an average difference of $33K for a home in Orlando.
Central Florida, like much of the surrounding state and, indeed, much of the rest of the country, is becoming more expensive to live in. It’s not exactly a question of whether or not prices have increased, but by how much, and how we will live in a world which is quickly becoming unaffordable.
But remember this — factors are changing all the time. Similar trends have been seen before, and the market has bounced back. As years pass, and as the country changes hands from leader to leader, and as economic fluctuations take place, and as world events reflect on the American market as a whole, take notice. The market is going through a phase — and this phase will also pass.