Orlando luxury home lots fetch sky-high prices

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Market Trends

It's not just Orlando luxury homes fetching eye-popping prices these days — so are empty lots.

Record home demand and a short supply of properties has led to buyers snatching up vacant parcels for “the highest values we’ve seen in many years,” Side Real Estate Inc. Realtor Tiffany Pantozzi told Orlando Business Journal. “We’re attracting more luxury buyers than ever before in Central Florida. The options are limited.” 

For proof, look to a record residential land sale in Winter Park. Maitland-based Norma Desmond Properties LLC on Jan. 25 paid $5.4 million for a 2.3-acre vacant parcel on the shore of Lake Osceola, according to Orange County records. On behalf of the unnamed buyer, Orlando-based custom homebuilder Jones Clayton Construction Inc. will build a 15,000-square-foot house. 

The site, which Jones Clayton President Rial Jones called an “A-plus lot,” landed the highest sales price of any single residential lot deal in Winter Park history.

Of course, Winter Park lakeside lots often come with high price tags. For example, a 2.8-acre residential site at 1119 Preserve Point Drive on Lake Virginia sold for $6.2 million in 2018. That property was sold in multiple transactions, according to Realtor.com.  Lakeside estates are at the top of the wishlists of buyers flooding into Central Florida from outside the state, said Beth Hobart, Realtor at Orlando-based Mainframe Real Estate LLC. “There’s not enough [lakefront properties]. We’re in Florida; people want that oasis.” 

However, not everyone is snatching up the sites for construction. Some buyers are scooping up the land and holding on until they see a drop in building costs, which have been driven up by rising lumber prices, Pantozzi said. 

Orlando’s high-end homes are in demand, and local luxury home sales increased 105% year over year. There were 45 homes sold for $1 million or more in January, up from 22 sales in January 2020, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

Trends in the residential real estate market are important, as every home sale in the state has an estimated local economic impact of $77,858, according to a 2018 study by the National Association of Realtors. In addition, the housing market often is considered a reflection of the local economy's overall health.