What’s behind Central Florida’s housing crunch?

“Prepare for heartbreak.”

That is the advice that loan officer Kimberly Keith has started offering to home buyers entering the central Florida housing market.

“Sellers currently they are going for cash, then conventional, and the government loans, I hate to say it but sometimes they’re not even being looked at,” said Keith.

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Across the area home prices have increased dramatically as a flood of buyers, many from out of state and with cash in hand, have entered the market.

According to Orlando Regional Realtor Association’s April report, “there were only 2,655 homes for sale in April 2021; that is a record low dating back to 1995, as far back as ORRA data goes.” Meanwhile ORRA reports that, “the median home price increased to $295,000 in April 2021, a 3.5% bump from March 2021. The median home price jumped 11.9% from $263,750 in April 2020.”

The combination of low inventory and increasing numbers of buyers is making for a market where many prospective homebuyers are finding few options.

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“We were looking for at least three months, looking at least 20 places, and we made offers above asking,” said Orlando homebuyer Chris Hughes.

Hughes and his fiancé Audrey Hayes ultimately settled on a townhome that was new construction, since they kept getting shut out of single family homes.

“We found the perfect house that was right down the street from where we were living before,” said Hayes talking about a home they found that was bought for cash.

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“This isn’t just central Florida wide” said realtor Kwynn Nicholas. “There are many more buyers than there are houses the inventory is at an all-time low.”

Driving this crunch is a combination of many factors.

For the last 13-months the inventory of single family homes has fallen each month. Meanwhile low interest rates mean buyers can afford more house for their money.

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All of this coupled with an influx of new residents to the area, many moving from other states and with cash in hand, means the central Florida market is tight for buyers.

If there is a silver lining right now it is that, according to ORRA, new listing are on the rise as homeowners looking to sell try to cash in on higher prices; prices that are unlikely to come down until supply rises and demand falls

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