I will preface this by saying that I am a Central Florida native. I attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando. My MBA is from Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College right here in Winter Park. My wife was born in Orange Memorial now Orlando Health. So yes, I am biased when I speak about Orlando, but that does not change the facts.
First, the weather here is fantastic. Today is October 28, 2008 and it is absolutely gorgeous outside. Blue skies, clear and sunny with a high around 66F. That is actually a little cool for us. I had customers here from Canada recently, and they could not get over the weather. Take everything else away, and we still have great weather. We also are 45 minutes from the ocean and 90 minutes from the gulf.
Second, quality of life in Orlando is outstanding and getting better. Healthcare and biomedical research is on the brink of something huge here. Our new medical city rivals a similar undertaking by Dubai. The University of Central Florida is opening a new medical school, the Burnham Institute has begun staffing their biomedical research facility, recently ground breaking ceremonies were held for the new VA hospital and Nemours has a green light for their new Children's hospital. As far as education, the arts, sports and entertainment is concerned, few cities our size can match what we have to offer. The University of Central Florida is the sixth largest university in the nation, Rollins College is ranked #1 in the South for Liberal Arts Colleges and their MBA is ranked #37 in the nation. A brand new arena has just begun construction, and new fine arts center is expected to be completed by 2012 and the Citrus Bowl is also scheduled for a complete renovation. We are probably best know for our entertainment, so I doubt I need to talk about all the options we have there.
Third, community is a big part of the Orlando way of life. We are working on commuter rail to ease the burden of our highways. Neighborhoods like Baldwin Park are being built to be more walkable with lots of parks and pathways and open spaces. Cities like Winter Park actually have requirements that require a certain number of acres of parks for every 1000 people. So, you will find that Orlando is a big city that is also a small town. The downtown area of Orlando is fantastic and very accessible.
Finally, Orlando is affordable again. Recent reductions in real estate prices have positioned Orlando as very affordable. In fact September's affordability index was about 124. This means that the median wage earner makes about 24% more than they need to make to afford the median priced home at $182,000. If you are renting, you will find a good supply of rentals available as well with a median rent for a three bedroom of around $1,200 a month. Search for homes at www.DavidWelch.com/OrlandoMLS