It’s not just the temperature in sunny Central Florida that’s hot. Anchored by the larger cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando, the real estate market in this area is brimming with expansion and growth. Orlando now ranks seventh in Forbes’ list of Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities, with a job growth rate of nearly four percent and an expected population growth of just over two percent.
The top employers include Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, demonstrating the importance of tourism in this region. Like much of the surrounding area, the city of Orlando has changed over the last decade to accommodate a 27 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2012. In fact, in 2016, Orlando was top-ranked for population growth among the top 30 metro areas in the country.
If you’re considering a move to Central Florida, you’ll find many new communities with beautiful, modern houses to choose from. To give you a better idea of what you can buy today, we’ve rounded up a list of the five hottest areas in Central Florida’s real estate market.
1. Winter Garden
Luther F. Tilden House in Winter Garden, Florida
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Ebyabe
- Average Sales Price: $351,250
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$9,450
- Price per Square Foot: $159
This Orlando suburb centers around a historic downtown which lends a quaint feel to the community. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the beauty of the region as they hike or bike along the 22-mile West Orange Trail, which travels through the city of Winter Garden.
Originally established to support the citrus industry, Winter Garden’s current housing stock provides buyers great opportunities in an affordable price range. In this town, with a population of about 40,000, you’ll find a variety of architectural styles — from historic homes downtown to more modern designs in suburban neighborhoods. You’ll also get a lot of bang for your real estate buck in Winter Garden. The average sales price of $351,250 has the potential to net buyers four- to six-bedroom homes. It’s easy to see why this town was one of the Orlando area’s top sellers in recent years.
Sunset on Lake Jesup, Oviedo, Florida
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Hammy365
- Average Sales Price: $235,000
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$3,900
- Price per Square Foot: $127
Oviedo is another Orlando suburb that continues to surge in popularity. The town boasts a professional population, many of whom commute to the city for work but choose to live in Oviedo for the school district and suburban lifestyle.
About 90% of the homes here are single-family units, and Oviedo has been recognized on both a state and national level as a great place to live. Recent accolades include a ranking in the 91st percentile of Wallet Hub’s best small cities, thanks to its affordability and safety. The website How Money Walks also named the town one of the best places to raise kids, taking into account the area’s highly-ranked schools, outdoor recreation and affordability.
3. Lakewood Ranch
2015 Strider Championships in Lakewood Ranch
- Average Sales Price: $150,000
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$4,450
- Price per Square Foot: $126
An award-winning planned community in Central Florida, Lakewood Ranch has experienced brisk home buying activity in recent years. This area attracts those looking for solid employment prospects, top schools and other amenities. Residents can stroll along Main Street’s shops or hike and bike on 150 miles of trails and sidewalks throughout the community.
Lakewood Ranch has also chosen to target millennial home buyers with new homes designed and priced appropriately for this demographic. A typical home in Lakewood Ranch offers around 2,000 square feet of single-family living, with three bedrooms and two baths. Nearby highway access allows for easy travel to larger cities throughout the state.
4. Downtown St. Petersburg
City of St. Petersburg Trolley
- Average Sales Price: $313,450
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$6,500
- Price per Square Foot: $118
If the beautiful weather in St. Petersburg isn’t enough to convince you to move there, don’t worry — the city has plenty of other attractions that will make you want to call it home. If you love the energy of big-city living, consider making downtown St. Petersburg your new home.
Recent revitalization projects have breathed new life into this beautiful city on the Gulf Coast. Wallet Hub named St. Petersburg as one of the best-run cities in America, based on factors like education and the economy. St. Petersburg ranked 15th in the nation for small businesses, and was also awarded the number one ranking as the best city in Florida for millennial job seekers. The walkable neighborhoods make this downtown area a popular spot where you’ll find many new apartment and townhouse developments in progress or recently completed.
5. Lake Nona
Lake Nona City Hall
- Average Sales Price: $399,000
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$5,000
- Price per Square Foot: $146
The original vision for the community of Lake Nona focused on designing a highly-livable community around a cluster of medical facilities. Today, beautiful Lake Nona balances a commitment to health and fitness with cutting-edge technology. Medical City, which is located in Lake Nona, provides a steady employment base. This southeast area of Orlando has also been named one of Cisco’s first Smart + Connected Communities, offering a platform for innovative, sustainable urban design. Simply put, Lake Nona takes technology seriously. The planned community also aims to promote wellness with a Sports and Performance District. From luxury apartments to resort-style townhomes and single-family residences, Lake Nona offers a wide variety of housing stock to fit a range of needs.
After suffering market setbacks over the last decade, Central Florida real estate is poised for a brighter future. New construction and employment opportunities continue to draw residents to the beauty of this southern state. From the Gulf Coast to Orlando and the Atlantic Ocean, you’re sure to find a home and community that’s a great fit for you.
With all it has to offer, it’s easy to see why this sunny area is so popular — so, best strike while the (real estate) iron is hot!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Owners.com, Altisource or any other Altisource® business or entity. The foregoing content is not intended to constitute, and in fact does not constitute, financial, investment, tax or legal advice by the author, Owners.com, Altisource or any other business or entity.
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