Tue, April 21, 2015
According to local property experts, mortgage professionals and business managers, the future is looking bright for Pine Hills. The once prosperous community took one of the hardest hits in Orange County during the recession, but fortunately the area is making a major comeback, thanks in large part to recent theme park expansions. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter generated a record-high boost in tourism and increased employment at Universal Orlando from 13,000 in 2009 to now 20,000 workers. Meanwhile, Disney doubled the size of Fantasyland last year—the biggest expansion in Magic Kingdom’s history—increasing employment to 74,000 workers. These changes have fostered tremendous economic growth in Pine Hills.
Affordability combined with close proximity to the parks has made Pine Hills an optimal choice for the thousands of new employees looking to invest in real estate. Christian Marin of Altura Investment Realty buys and sells foreclosed homes in Pine Hills, and said his primary buyers are investors drawn to the area due to increased employment opportunities and the number of reliable tenants. He also credits the 30-minute drive to the parks as a contributing factor. “The economy is doing good. People want to take a vacation and they’re all coming here,” said Marin. (Quote provided by Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg News)
In addition to local real estate, the domino effect of theme park expansion has also made its way into the Pine Hills business community. According to local Home Depot Store Manager Christine Umthun, business is the best it has been in years.
“When residential property values go up, people begin to treat home improvement as an investment rather than an expense—it’s great for our business. At the West Colonial Home Depot, we are seeing growth in foot traffic from our local community.”
More than 62 million people visited Orlando last year, the record for any U.S. destination according Visit Orlando. Tourism is arguably the biggest change agent in Central Florida, as more tourists means more jobs, residents, and businesses. Pine Hills may not be “the most magical place on earth,” but it is only a few miles up the road! Thanks in large part to a wizard and worldwide theme park empire, the future is looking magically bright for Pine Hills.