It’s simple supply and demand.
Luxury condos in Orlando are selling quickly and for soaring prices. Demand is high and supply is low, causing owners to think about cashing in on the craze.
In March, a penthouse on the 18th floor of The Sanctuary Downtown sold for $2.7 million, setting the record for the highest-priced downtown condo.
The Sanctuary was built in 2005 by Turner Construction on behalf of DTO Developments LLC, with 173 residential units ranging from 1,500 to 4,800 square feet. The building offers a variety of high-end amenities.
“Properties of this caliber don’t come on the market often,” said Erin Wanner with The Stockworth Realty Group. Wanner has spent her entire career in the luxury real estate market representing higher profile purchasers including athletes and business executives.
Unit 219 was the 4,244 square foot top floor unit that Wanner sold after a complete renovation.
“[The seller] took about three years creating it to be a very special and unique place and used extremely high-end imported finishes throughout, along with the latest and greatest technology. So, it was ultra-convenient, ultra-modern, ultra sexy and just what Orlando doesn’t have a lot of,” she said.
As many investors would, the owner decided to cash in.
“Our strategy was to find somebody who was going to give him a number that he couldn’t turn down and we did that very quickly off the market and it just made sense to do so as he was moving on to a new chapter in his life,” Warner explained.
Now another condo is on the market in the building’s 17th floor which is even bigger and has a larger terrace. It is listed at nearly $2.8 million. It was last sold in 2018 for about $1.7 million.
“[It has a] similar concept as far as the renovation, the design and making it into a place that’s unlike what you would normally find in a condo,” Wanner told Growth Spotter. “Our strategy is to simply capitalize on the success of the other sale and see what we can get for an equally as impressive piece of property.”
Another top floor penthouse will go on the market soon and Wanner said she plans to follow the same stales strategy as she has for the other two.
“This unit is unique,” Chris Christenson told GrowthSpotter. “The VUE is the highest residential tower in downtown, and it directly overlooks Lake Eola. It’s a corner unit, so it has windows that wrap around.”
He said the condo market is no different from the luxury home market, in that limited supply is driving up demand.
“There is limited inventory right now, and that is enticing people to put units on the market and put them at much higher prices than what most people have seen in the past,” he said.
So far this year, two condos in Winter Park at Villa Siena and The Residences at Winter Park have sold for $2.2 million and $2.55 million, respectively.
Dan Haber with Sotheby’s currently has a $2.99 million condo listing on Winter Park’s South Interlachen Drive. It’s the last unit of the recently completed South Interlachen Place condo townhouse building, where each unit has three stories of living space with private elevators, underground parking and rooftop terraces.
According to The Schmidt Report from Stockworth, for the 12 month period from December 2019 to December 2020, condos made up 36.44% of total sales in the Orlando area, second only to single-family homes.
The same report also says luxury inventory suffered a steep decline in both units available and volume of sales beginning in August 2020.
“I think when the market is telling you your property is worth something and the demand is out there for the buyers, any savvy real estate practitioner and or investor would want to capitalize on market opportunities such as this,” Wanner said.
While most buyers looking for luxury real estate want space, high-end features and finishes, technology, etc., condo buyers are a bit different.
“I think people with money and people who are at a certain point in their life want the prestige that comes with owning a penthouse and the luxury and convenience that comes with the lock and leave lifestyle that [condos] have to offer,” explained Wanner.
Size also matters. Condo buyers don’t want to sacrifice size for convenience and are looking for square footages greater than 4,000 square feet.
“There are only really one or two buildings that offer square footages that are similar to a single family home,” she said. “But you have the maintenance-free convenience of a condo and still the space that you would want to find in a home. That’s why I think this building is popular and I think this is why people are willing to spend the money on it.”
Other developers are getting into the luxury condo market.
As GrowthSpotter reported in August, the developers who built CitiTower have plans for a 33-story tower in downtown Orlando which would be a combination of convention center, luxury hotel and branded condo residences.
“I don’t see the market slowing down,” Wanner said. “The appeal of Florida for income tax and quality of life reasons will continue to draw people from North and West Coast.”
GrowthSpotter editor Laura Kinsler contributed to this report.