Forbes reports that 60 million people visited the Orlando area in 2015, making it the most visited tourist destination in the US. And for those looking to maximize on great opportunities for investing in real estate, the current Orlando real estate forecast for 2018 holds a lot of promise, especially for investors looking to take advantage while prices are still below what they were during the pre-recession peak.

Orlando real estate forecast for 2018: slow price growth, but no peak

It was a decade ago when the bottom began to fall out of the housing market across the county—and Orlando was no exception. Today, prices have been slowly moving on up for years but have yet to get back to their peak levels. According to Zillow, stalling prices could delay a full recovery for another seven years or so. For homeowners who purchased back in 2006, a return to the prices as they were then is key, just as it is for those trying to gain a bigger ownership stake in their properties.

According to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, Orlando price growth has been strong since the bottom-out in 2011, but he also says Orlando could see more moderate price growth going forward. Reports show the core Orlando market’s median price was $224,000 in November—still a far cry from the peak of $264,436 a decade ago. One concern raised in real estate forecasts for Orlando in 2018 is that price increases could stagnate if investors give up on distress sales and transform them into rentals: 1 out of 5 Metro Orlando houses is currently a rental and about a third of rentals could be sold to first-time buyers as starter houses.

More recently, in January 2018, Orlando’s median home price continued to rise while sales held steady with a 0.5% increase compared to January of last year, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. The overall median price of Orlando homes had reached $225,000–12.6% higher than January 2017’s $199,900 and 2.2% below December 2017’s $230,000. The good news: year-over-year increases recorded over the last 79 consecutive months show that the overall median price is 94.8% above what it was during the low of July 2011. The median price for single-family homes in January had increased 10.1% over the year before, and condos had increased 15.1%.

A bona fide buyer’s market

Orlando’s real estate forecast for 2018 spells a real buyer’s market. According to Zillow, the median home value in Orlando Metro is $216,100. It has gone up 7.6% over the past year and will rise 3.5% within 2018. Meanwhile, according to Zillow, the median home price currently being listed is in the vicinity of $279,000, while the median price of homes sold is just $212,900. The median rent price in Orlando Metro is $1495—lower than the Florida median of $1795. If you’re looking to buy a home in Orlando, now is the right time.

Florida’s outstanding economy & the appeal of low-priced homes: real estate forecast for Orlando in 2018

Florida’s economic performance was outstanding as usual in 2017, one of many reasons it attracted so many new residents and homebuyers. Orlando’s population grew 18%, and disposable income has grown 12.8% over the last five years. South Florida’s population hit 6 million for the first time, and Miami Dade hit 2.7 million, while Orlando saw 48,000 new residents arrive. All this growth has generated a healthy demand for housing and rentals. Experts are predicting the Florida economy will reach $1 trillion in 2018 and $1.074 trillion in 2019.

Florida is an important state, having 5% of the US economy but 10% of new jobs, tourism and housing being the key industries. While Hurricane Irma and the destruction of the citrus crop suppressed the Florida economy, causing wages to lag, real estate in Florida overall is extremely reasonably priced. Indeed, there is no reason to believe there is a downside to buying property in the Sunshine State—thriving as the economy is. Interest in Orlando and Tampa real estate has been particularly strong, and that’s likely due to the lower prices.

Orlando home availability in 2018

According to the Orlando Sentinel, prospective buyers only had about 8800 properties to choose from in May 2017—down 17% from a year previous. As well, the condo market had about 22% fewer listings. Single-family homes were down 16.2% when compared to the year prior. So while prices remain very buyer friendly, the Orlando real estate forecast for 2018 would have us believe that buying now before prices rise further and availability declines is the right move.