LONGWOOD, Fla. (WFLA) — The Federal Reserve raising interest rates could mean good news for Florida homebuyers, but for many of them, the issue is not buying a home — It’s finding one to buy.
WESH 2 News spoke with a family from Michigan who had been trying to find a home in the sunshine state for several months. James Halstead was in Florida during the search, while his wife and children were stuck across the country.
“I was traveling back and forth every other week. So, I’d be in Longwood for a week and I’d be in Michigan for a week,” Halstead said.
Florida has quickly become one of the least affordable places to live in the country. According to Orlando Realtors, the city’s median home price was recorded at $387,000 in June – a 22.9% increase from the year before.
“We ended up spending 25% more than we thought our top of the line was,” Halstead said. “Despite the fact that I came here for a new opportunity that was very promising for me. It’s not as lucrative as it originally looked.”
Orlando city leaders said that if the trend continues, housing prices could drive out working-class residents who are already struggling.
“Many of the residents have no other choice but to move outside to rural areas that then they lack transportation, they lack their support system that they’ve built in these urban core neighborhoods,” District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill said.
It’s not just families in the housing market. They are competing against investors, who aim to flip the homes and sell them for a higher price or rent them out.
“We also have a major – really astounding number of investors coming in and purchasing homes, including single-family homes for rental and the impacts that’s going to have on the market are really extreme,” Shannon Nazworth, president and CEO of Ability Housing said.
While it might not be Halstead’s dream home, just closing on a house was a major victory.
“It’s not exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I’m happy we’re on this adventure together and we’re down here in Florida enjoying the land of sunshine.” Halstead said.