Remember that it all started with a mouse, “Walt Disney repeated, referring to the growth of his company at that time, although he never imagined that Mickey would also change the fate of an entire city and its inhabitants.
Famous for the theme parks, Orlando’s popularity began with Disney World, which is still its most roaring economic engine. But in recent years, it has been undergoing a transformation, from being a tourist village, and then also a national convention center, to a cosmopolitan city.
The economic indicators speak for themselves. For the third consecutive year, it is the national leader in employment growth; the population has increased 41% since 2000; and it takes 80 uninterrupted months of value increase in the property. According to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, an entity that brings together real estate agents in the area, real estate increased by 10% comparing February this year with 2017. But the most tempting: their prices still remain below the national average.
“There’s a lot of talk about Orlando and people do not understand, they associate it with the parks, it started with Disney, but it’s gotten out of hand, there are many factors that are transforming the city, one of them is Lake Nona Medical City (263 hectares), which is the first medical city in the USA that is being done through a master plan, with highly complex hospitals, it is strategically located in the center of Florida, to attend the baby boomers who are in stage It will also cover high technology needs for people in Latin America who are going to Boston or Houston today to do treatments and operations, and there are already hospitals enabled and others with a projection to open in 2019, “says Ruben Kaufman, president of Mir Developments, developer of housing projects such as Royal Palace or Sandlakes Station.
In turn, Orlando is home to the University of Central Florida, the largest public school in the country by number of students.
“It is becoming a destination not only for parks but also for business, what is interesting is that real estate is growing more than any other city in Florida,” says Mark Rousso, CEO of Mir Developments.
Indeed, Orlando was number one in the ranking prepared by Forbes magazine at the beginning of the year, about the best cities in the country to invest in real estate in 2018.
In the same vein, Ana Atkins, broker of Allison James Estates and Homes Elite. “We see an increase in real estate prices of 6% so far in 2018. This is due to the increase in jobs for all new projects, both governmental and in the private sector, such as the expansion of Interstate 4, main artery in Central Florida, the medical city Lake Nona, the expansion of the Sun Rail Train (a passenger train that opened in 2014 and serves the city and neighboring counties), and the opening of the new football stadium, Orlando City. projects an increase of 42% of employment in the next 10 years, this tells us that we have a strong and healthy economy, “specifies Atkins.
Meanwhile tourism continues to flourish. In 2016 it reached the record of 68 million people. To the strong investments in highways, the most important expansion of the history of the international airport of Orlando and the construction of a train that unites it with Miami, called Brightline, is added. The station is almost completed, although 65 km of track are missing.
Prices and returns
“Prices have been adjusted, this is supply and demand, demand is very strong,” says Juan Carlos Murillo, real estate agent at Fortune International Realty, adding that at some point, Orlando and Tampa will be practically united thanks. “Also Lakeland, which is in the middle of the two cities, is growing a lot, Orlando has the east and west coast, a lot of people are coming because life is cheaper and there is a lot of employment,” he summarizes.
Purchasing values vary in the type of property the investor acquires and the purpose for which it will invest. According to Atkins, a 7% to 18% annual return is normally sought. Many investors focus on vacation properties which can be rented in the short term, generating more profit, while allowing you to have the property available for your vacations.
Kaufman, on the other hand, has turned to the properties for the permanent resident. “It gives you more security because rentals are signed per year.The vacation client is usually someone who plans to go from time to time and rent the rest of the year.It is not the investor who wants to have a rental portfolio,” he demonstrates.
Orlando has a lot of temporary stay, not only because of Disney but also because it is the nucleus of national conventions along with Las Vegas. Every week executives arrive for this type of meetings.
Kaufman points out, above all, that the property in Orlando costs 22% less than the national average, and cites as an example the units sold by Sandlakes Station, where the square meter is around US $ 1700. A one bedroom apartment with a desk starts at US $ 138,900. This unit is rented at approximately US $ 1300, with US $ 180 per month of expenses and about US $ 150 per month of tax (US $ 1800 per year).
The average price of the city (combining all types of houses and apartments) for February this year was US $ 228,000, while a year earlier it had been US $ 206,000.
Another positive indicator is that beyond the price increase of 10% in 12 months, the inventory decreased in the same period by 9%.
Orlando vs Miami
All the real estate agents consulted agree that more and more investors are eyeing Orlando. “Our business started in Miami in 1996, and we have experience with both clients, but the investor is orienting his compass to where the potential lies in. Today, they look at Orlando, which is like a cocoon that is flourishing. they buy us in Miami, and they could not understand that with the same money they buy three or four apartments in Orlando, it is still a cheap market, and although Miami is very important, at the level of return it is not leaving the investor so much ” , compare.
“Miami is still Miami,” Murillo says, “but it’s a bit oversaturated, customers see Orlando more relaxed, the malls and outlets absorb a lot of people who come shopping, it’s cheaper and with less traffic. Sometimes investors are often fearful, their location always makes landfall first on the coasts and reaches the weakened city. ”
All roads lead to Orlando. Not only do more and more tourists land. Baby boomers, retirees, millennials and young entrepreneurs also disembark. They say that there, dreams come true. But always remember, it all started with a mouse.