The Greater Lakeland area which includes Auburndale and Winter Haven is listed as the third “Most Affordable City in the US to Buy a Home” according to CNN money. With it’s proximity between Orlando and Tampa and the local jobs picture improving, thanks to the opening of Legoland, their new water park and the construction of the CSX intermodal terminal in Winter Haven the jobs picture is getting better every day. “While both home prices and incomes have been hit hard here over the past several years, the decline in home values has far surpassed falling wages”, said Ken H. Johnson, professor of real estate at Florida International University. This provides a unique opportunity for those that have been renting and would like to own their own home.
An additional feature of the Lakeland/Auburndale/Winter Haven area is that local property taxes are low. With today’s low interest rates, a family who buys a new single family home and puts 20% down would have a monthly payment of under $500 including principal, interest and property taxes, under $600 if you include principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance. This window of opportunity will not last for long. In many locations New Homes are being sold on impaired land and the lot is priced less than what it can be produced for. The material and labor increases that are expected in roofing, concrete and lumber haven’t taken hold as of yet and the interest rates are still at historic lows. As far as a buyer is concerned it’s a perfect storm of good things. But it won’t last for long. If the builders run out of written down home sites, the county allows the Impact Fee Moratorium to expire, or any of the price increases start this window of opportunity will end.