Welcome to Central Florida

If you think Metro Orlando is just about tourist attractions, take a closer look.

In Central Florida, you’ll find picture-postcard villages where tree-shaded streets are lined with antique shops and Victorian homes; farm towns where citrus packing plants still crate and ship delicious oranges and modern mixed-use developments built around resort-style amenities.

And everywhere you’ll see beautiful lakes. These thousands of shimmering bodies of water – some huge, some tiny and many interconnected by manmade canals or natural tributaries – provide some of the choicest real estate in all of Florida.

Despite its outsized international profile, due mostly to the presence of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Sea World and other attractions, Orlando proper is, in fact, a medium-sized municipality of fewer than 200,000 people.

The Orlando MSA, however, has 2,134,411 people, an increase of 51,990 new residents between 2009 and 2010. By population, it’s the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida, the fifth-largest in the southeastern United States, and the 26th largest in the United States.

That increase is expected to continue far into the future. By 2050, in fact, Metro Orlando is expected to have 4 million residents, making it larger than all but four other metro areas.

And it will all be connected by SunRail, the region’s new commuter rail service, the first leg of which opened in 2014.

But with so much going on in so many places, where should a newcomer look for a home? Here’s a county-by-county primer. Undoubtedly, there’s a neighborhood, and a home, just right for you and your family.