Month: May 2018

Orlando housing market heats as home prices outpace wages

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By MARY SHANKLIN
Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ With Orlando home prices rising six times faster than wages in the last year, competition has revved up for condos and townhouses, a new report shows.

The smaller, more affordable residential options represented just 12 percent of the 3,508 home sales in an area of mostly Orange and Seminole counties last month. But prices of those units rose at more than triple the rate of single-family houses during the last year, according to a new report by Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

“What we have essentially done is come full circle with rent versus purchase, and right now, the pendulum has swung to purchase,” said Thomas Allen, broker with Urbanista, which specializes in downtown Orlando residential.

He said condo and townhouse prices have spiked to the point where developers will likely look at building another condominium tower in downtown at some point during the next two years as average sales prices continue increasing above $300 a square foot. It’s been about a decade since the urban core saw a new condo tower, he added.

The mid-point price for a single-family home in the core Orlando market during March was $249,900, which was up 6 percent from a year earlier. Prices for condominiums and townhouses were about half that amount and increased more than 19 percent during that time.

Stress on buyers continues to mount in Central Florida with midpoint wages of $58,406 remaining roughly flat for the previous yearlong period, while home prices have grown about 6 percent. Interest rates remained flat from a year earlier and edged down slightly to 4.29 percent in March from February.

In addition, the supply of listings has shrunk to near-record levels of 2.2 months, which is down from a year and a month earlier.

From a month earlier, the overall median price for all types of Orlando-area housing in March was largely flat at $230,000 despite the downturn in supply. Sales were also relatively flat from February.

“Orlando’s housing market continues to be tugged by opposing factors, such as low inventory and high demand,” said association president Lou Nimkoff, of Brio Real Estate Services. “The result is a wash for sales.”

Of the four counties in the Metro Orlando area, only Osceola showed an increase in year-over-year sales with 5.9 percent growth. Lake County sales declined 4.4 percent; Seminole County was down 3.7 percent; and Orange County sales slipped 2.9 percent from a year ago.

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Orlando, FL, USA for Use These Packing and Planning Tips to Maximize Your Fun at Orlando’s Water Parks

Orlando, FL, USA for Use These Packing and Planning Tips to Maximize Your Fun at Orlando’s Water Parks

–Good weather reigns year-round in Orlando, Florida, but summertime is the best season to splash around in the many epic water parks around town. From enormous water slides to incredibly relaxing lazy rivers, you can test the waters of a different park each day for a week and still not get through them all! Orlando during the summer is non-stop fun, and we want to help you make the most of your vacation. To ensure you have the maximum amount of vacation fun without any stress, we’ve compiled a quick water park packing and planning list for you.

Orlando Water Park Packing Tips

Whether you’re heading to the water park at your resort, such as Surfari at The Grove, or to Blizzard Beach in Walt Disney World, many of the items you will, or won’t, need remain the same.

Don’t Forget to Bring:

-Hat
-Sunscreen
-Sunglasses
-Water-friendly shoes
-A few bathing suits – You don’t need to bring multiple bathing suits to the park, but as far as packing goes, it’s good to have a few to cycle through, depending on how long your stay will be

You don’t need to bring towels with you, all of the water parks will have them for use.

We also recommend bringing:

-Favorite floating devices – the Zero Entry Pool at The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando, for example, allows outside floaties, the water parks at Walt Disney World, though, do not
-Book or e-reader, if you intend to lounge
-GoPro or another water-resistant camera
-Waterproof container for your phones and other electronic devices that you may use while at the park

Orlando Water Park Planning Tips

Now that you have a general idea of what to pack for the water park portion of your Orlando vacation, let’s dive into some general planning tips.

For starters, it’s smart to assess, ahead of time, which water parks will suit your needs. If you’re going to be vacationing with kids who enjoy thrill rides, then be sure to spend at least one day at Blizzard Beach, where thrill rides are plentiful. On the other hand, if you have more a mixed group of big and little kids, then opt for Typhoon Lagoon, where there’s a variety of rides and activities for all ages.

If you prefer to have access to an on-site water park, then choose a resort that has a water park with everything you desire. Surfari Water Park at The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando is one of the newest, and one of the only water parks to feature FlowRider, a double surf simulation ride.

Even though the water parks feature complimentary chairs, they all tend to be taken by the afternoon, along with the shaded spots, since the parks are so popular during the summer months. To ensure your group has a spot to gather, eat, and relax, get to the park early. Another idea is to rent a cabana.

Though this option is pricier, it means your entire group will have a comfortable spot to lounge in throughout the day.

We mentioned packing sunscreen, but our planning tips for the sun expand beyond that. Not only do we recommend planning to apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day, but try to find shade as often as possible. The sun is extremely powerful, so it’s important to get in the shade as often as possible.

Arrive early and/or stay late. If you and your crew don’t mind starting your days early, you can plan to arrive as soon as the parks open, when there are fewer people. The same concept applies to the hour before closing.

Pack lite for parks outside of your resort. The water parks at Walt Disney World offer lockers for use, but space is limited within the locker. Outside of what we mentioned on the packing list above, we recommend keeping any non-essentials to a minimum, so you’ll have less to keep track of.

Visit a variety of water parks. There are so many incredible water parks to enjoy in Orlando; we recommend visiting a few different ones. Enjoy your resort water park, head to Blizzard Beach in Walt Disney World, or try out Aquatica at SeaWorld.

Last, but not least, stay hydrated! Without a doubt, you’ll be taking in a lot of sun, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day will ensure you enjoy yourself all day, and vacation, long. Being in the water will cool you off on the outside, drinking water will ensure your insides stay cool and happy!

You’re all set. You know the packing essentials, we’ve shared our best planning tips, and all that’s left is for you to enjoy! Don’t sweat the small stuff, even if you forget something, you’ll be able to purchase it in Orlando. Even if you aren’t able to get to the park first thing, or the chairs are taken at first, it will all work out, and the fun will still be had, regardless! Splash, lounge, shout with joy, whichever rides you choose, we know it’ll be a trip to remember.

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100 clean up Orlando apartments for ex-homeless

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ORLANDO, Fla. — About a hundred people gave up their Saturday to help spruce up a home for the homeless in Orlando.

100 turn out to help paint apartments for ex-homeless Pathlight Home manages 2 apartment complexes

Volunteers grabbed a brush and put a new coat of paint on a housing complex for the homeless at the corner of Colonial Drive and John Young Parkway.

Pathlight Home has two complexes, providing a home for 600 formerly-homeless men and women.

"It makes me feel more at home, because there’s so many people that care about us and come over and volunteer for us, and this is just one of their better efforts," Maxwell Terrace resident Alan Culver said.

Over the past 25 years, Pathlight Home has helped provide a home for more than 5,000 homeless people.

About 100 people volunteered their time Saturday to clean up an apartment complex in Orlando that houses formerly homeless people. (Vincent Earley, staff)
About 100 people volunteered their time Saturday to clean up an apartment complex in Orlando that houses formerly homeless people. (Vincent Earley, staff)

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