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Pictured above is a country-style home in Winter Park. Orlando-area home sales continued to show sluggishness as the new year began.
Pictured above is a country-style home in Winter Park. Orlando-area home sales continued to show sluggishness as the new year began. (Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Home sales in the Orlando area started 2016 on a soft note, falling 33.88 percent compared with the month prior, the first time in a decade that a month-over-month decline was marked.

Also, the year-over-year decline was 17.69 percent.

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The drops continue softness the area has been seeing since Fall 2015.

"People do want to buy, but they are not seeing a selection," so they are not making purchases, said John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. "There is no deep-seeded problem with the economy or Orlando."

January is typically a softer month because people want to make their home purchases before year end.

Still, sale inventory did show some improvement in January, with a 143-property increase over December.

Lazenby predicted more houses coming on the market because of "the lure of the higher prices people are getting."

With that increase, "You will have more selection and more negotiations, which will equate to more sales," he said.

Still, there is no denying softness is creeping in, with the question being how long will it last.

Pending sales -- those under contract and awaiting closing -- were at 4,934. The number of pending sales in January of this year was 18.23 percent lower than it was in January 2015, and 10.33 percent higher than it was in December 2015.

The sales breakdown by county was as follows when January is compared with the same month in 2015: Orange dropped 6.02 percent, Osceola fell 5.26 percent, Seminole rose 3.58 percent, and Lake saw a 9.57 percent increase.

The ORRA is not projecting home sales will grow significantly this year. Still, while not offering a figure, the association does feel it will beat the Florida Realtors' prediction of 8 percent to 10 percent growth for the state in 2016.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at ktalley@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5176. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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