News Column

Orlando's Mortgage-vs.-rent Gap Grows

Aug. 21, 2012

Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel

As Orlando home prices have increased this year, the gap between monthly mortgage payments and rents has widened.

This year started with mortgage payments that rivaled monthly rents, but the gap has grown, with monthly mortgage payments now averaging $1,200 and rents averaging $1,050, according to a report released this week by Orlando-based FBC Mortgage. In January, the mortgage-vs.-rent gap was only about $20.

"We are still seeing a steady improvement in the [home-sales] market over the past 12 months. Loan amounts and sales prices continue to increase," said Rob Nunziata, president of FBC Mortgage LLC. "Demand is strong and housing inventory continues to decrease, which has led to the overall improvement we are seeing in the marketplace."

Interest rates have edged down this year, from about 4.1 percent in January on a 30-year, fixed-rate home loan to about 3.67 percent for that same loan in July, according to the report, which is based on 467 Florida mortgages completed last month, most of them in Central Florida. July's nterest rates were the lowest in 60 years, the report said.

The growing gap between the costs of homeownership versus renting are primarily the result of rising house prices. Since January, the average home price for FBC borrowers has increased from $190,000 to $210,000, the report stated. And according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, the median price of existing-home sales last month in the core Orlando market was $125,750, up from $108,000 at the beginning of the year.

More than half of FBC's July mortgages were conventionally financed, with an average down payment of $55,000. Government-backed mortgages had an average down payment of just $8,000.

With prices increasing, the average age of first-time buyers was 31 in July -- up slightly from the beginning of the year. Two years ago, beginning buyers were an average age of 42.

Source: (c)2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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