Central Florida’s top homebuilding executives are a lot happier than they’ve been in previous years.
A group of 15 local leaders — builders of both custom and production homes — came together on Jan. 11 at downtown Orlando’s Fairwinds Tower to discuss the residential real estate market at Orlando Business Journal’s 2015 Industry Outlook event. And many said activity and opportunities for more growth have been popping up throughout metro Orlando.
The highest concentration of the area’s homebuilding activity seems to be focused in areas including southeast Orlando’s Lake Nona and west Orange County. But attendees said more opportunities seem to be cropping up in other areas. And some said they’ve even been able to move into submarkets they previously couldn’t find land in or even redevelopment opportunities in the past.
Here, we share some of the responses from homebuilders discussing the surprising hot markets for their companies:
Vishaal Gupta, executive vice president of Park Square Homes: We’re seeing a lot of activity in Clermont. That’s due to affordability and access. You can get into downtown Orlando through [State Road] 408 or Florida’s Turnpike. You can be at The Mall at Millenia in 20-30 minutes. It’s very convenient, very affordable and Clermont is a great area. There’s a great hospital and a lot of growth there. I think you’ll see Clermont becoming very popular in the future.
Matt Trask, vice president of Dave Brewer Inc.: Volusia County and the coastal areas, specifically, we’ve seen a big pickup. We didn’t spend a lot time in there in the last five years and now it’s a good market. It’s water. We’re not making any more of it, and it’s desirable. Since things have picked up, [buyers] are looking more at second and vacation homes. They’re spending more time on the coast with their families.
Jerome Henin, founder/owner of Henin Homes Inc.: For 20 years, I was basically by myself in west Volusia County and it seems like now, it’s really booming. There’s a lot of land available, it’s very close to Heathrow, and now the stigma of crossing the bridge and going to west Volusia is gone.
David Rauh, founder/president of Brierhill Homes Inc.: West Orange County is expanding a little bit beyond Windermere, which has always been hot. Winter Garden and Ocoee have been doing well, and Oakland Park is coming on. One of the reasons is crime rates are very low in that area. If you look statistically at the relationship between crime rates and housing growth in different areas, there’s a direct relationship there. You’re seeing a lot of improvement in crime rates going down in Ocoee and Winter Garden. And then all of a sudden, housing comes after.
Brad Grosberg, principal of Phil Kean Design Group: We’re starting to do some building we hadn’t done before in Windermere. We’ve predominantly been in Winter Park, and then moved to Lake Nona and Laureate Park. Windermere is good for us now. We’ve got projects going on in Isleworth. So, that whole south part of Orlando has become important for us, too.
Paul Gidus, owner of PSG Construction: In Winter Park and College Park, there’s a lot of tear-down activity. It’s getting very, very expensive like it was 10 years ago. There’s a lot of competition.