• Central Florida home prices rising


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - After years of being mired in a stubborn slump, the Central Florida housing market is gaining some traction.

    Not only are prices going back up, but also fewer homes are on the market.

    The Orlando Regional Realtor Association reports the median price of a home in Central Florida has increased 11 percent since January to $120,000. If you take distressed homes – those in short sale or foreclosure – out of the picture, the average home price rose 3 percent to $160,000.

    Real estate agents who are on the street every day trying to sell homes are seeing improvement.

    Vanesa Cortes, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, told WFTV’s Jorge Estevez that homes are selling in east Orlando.

    "It's moving. It's moving and I am hoping the prices keep moving with it," Cortes said.

    But, she added, there is still cause for concern.

    "Unfortunately, the  market is still saturated with a lot of short sales and bank-owned properties," Cortes said.

    But Estevez checked and discovered that even the value of distressed homes rose 5 percent to $108,000.

    And the increase, along with interest rates that are currently below 4 percent, could mean even more sales in the near future.

    Stephen Baker, chairman of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, which released Friday’s report, said, "In the last year and half we have seen a steady increase, slow, but steady increase in price so the people who have been waiting should be buying now."

    And that encourages agents like Cortes.

    "By the end of this year we will see that growing a little bit,’’ Cortes said.

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