Walkability and I-4 Avoidance Boosts Orlando Neighborhoods

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Walkability and I-4 Avoidance Boosts Orlando Neighborhoods

In a region where exclusive, lakefront estates have long commanded top dollar, two relatively new Orlando neighborhoods known for alleys and front porches have joined the Orlando area’s priciest addresses.

Baldwin Park and Lake Nona had the area’s highest and third-highest average home-sales prices in May — about a half-million dollars, a new analysis shows. Those prices were about double the average price for the core Orlando market, which was $226,000 last month. Winter Park had the second-highest average prices, $503,159.

Buyers have been priced out of the Orlando neighborhood’s market more and more, but sellers in the small-town-feel Baldwin Park community are enjoying price gains of about $100,000 in four years. It’s the newer version of College Park, getting that downtown draw and the walkability factor.

A midyear checkup of Orlando’s housing market also shows areas within Orange and Seminole counties that have the most sales, biggest distress-sale markets, and greatest affordability so far this year. Based on ZIP code-level data from the Orlando Regional Realtors Association, the analysis also indicates hot housing spots in the city center and in developing Orlando neighborhoods off toll roads.

I-4’s Effect on Orlando Neighborhoods

Orlando neighborhoods with the greatest number of sales so far this year have been suburbs and cities that aren’t reliant on Interstate 4 — Waterford Lakes, Winter Garden, and Ocoee.

Those east and west locations are still growing and offer new and resale housing stock for a variety of income levels. Even though commuters in those areas are usually stuck paying tolls, buyers typically prefer E-Pass transponders to traffic snarls.

Winter Garden is a big, growing area. If you work in downtown Orlando, there’s great access to come downtown and that is a big attraction because you don’t have to deal with I-4. Oviedo is one of the only areas in Seminole with a wide range of prices for new construction, and has a lot of land to keep pushing out from I-4. Orlando neighborhoods around UCF also have been growing.

Deals for Orlando Neighborhoods

Other findings from the analysis show average prices have softened somewhat from the start of the year in areas neighboring Orlando such as Chickasaw, Windermere, and Dr. Phillips. Reasons could include the mix of home sales changing with fewer lakefront properties, more condominium sales, and a shift away from some aging properties.

Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Sharon Voss said owners in communities built in the 1980s and 1990s have to update if they want to compete in the marketplace: “Unless they keep up with the Joneses, they’re going to be left behind.”

The reputation of school districts in Orlando neighborhoods also affects on how well markets recover, Voss added.

The greatest number of distress sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, have been in Waterford Lakes, Sanford, and Rio Pinar/Union Park. From January through May, about a third of the 479 sales in the Waterford Lakes ZIP Code of 32828 were short sales or foreclosures.

The distress-sale pickings were slimmest, meanwhile, in the Maitland, Lake Nona, and Baldwin Park areas.

In terms of affordability, Pinecastle, Pine Hills, and Richmond Heights had the area’s lowest average prices in May, with average prices less than $80,000. Some Pine Hills homes are in their second foreclosure sale in recent years. Pine Hills still has a decent number of foreclosed properties where in other areas, they’ve pretty much dried up.

Rising Prices in Orlando Neighborhoods

Orlando neighborhoods that showed the greatest increase in average prices, jumping by at least a third from January to May, included: Pinecastle, with an average price of $200,211 in May; parts of Bay Hill, with an average price of $318,121; and the downtown Orlando ZIP code of 32801, which had an average May sales price of $352,019.

Even though Baldwin Park hit the area’s highest price point with average price of $506,813 for 31 sales in May, the Orlando neighborhood experienced fewer sales than most areas, which could be a factor of having little on the market or too few buyers who could swing those prices.

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Source: “Walkability, I-4 avoidance boost neighborhoods,” Orlando Sentinel